“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21
We live like life is a competition. We’ve heard over and over how we have to “keep up with the Joneses”, buying that Mercedes-Benz, 3D TV, Blu-Ray player, and 3000 square foot house. We need the new iPad the day it comes out, the latest video game so we can master it before our friends, and an account on the hottest social networking site. All of these things we think we need but for what?
Life really isn’t a competition. “You said life cannot be measured by the place you live, the car you drive.” It’s not a race to see who can cross the finish line first. What do we have in this world at the end? It’s not a game to determine who can end up with the most expensive goods. After all, besides the temporary pleasure we receive from owning them, what do they really give us? At the end of our lives, are these the things we will prize most?
What really matters, as Jesus tells us, is our heart. It’s about how we love. “The thing that counts the day you die is who you are and what’s inside.” Many times we buy things to make up for our own inadequacies. We aren’t turning to God for fulfillment, so we turn to cheap, material imitations to satisfy us for a few days. We don’t think we’re good enough as we are, so we want that luxury car to give us the status and image we crave. Basically, it all adds up to one thing: when we put our faith in material things, it’s because we have forgotten where our hope is.
Sadly, when we do this we not only hurt ourselves but we also lead others astray. Have you ever had that really devout Christian friend who was obsessed with technology and made you feel like it was not only okay but encouraged for you to focus your attention on the same? Or the self-sacrificing volunteer friend who was always dressed in the latest fashions, convincing you that your fashion sense was more important than your prayer life? It’s easy to be distracted, but Jesus reminds us to live a different way.
“Live with no excuses, love with no regrets…Make this world a better place.” We are supposed to give without restraint. This means our material goods, our love, our personality, and ourselves. This is the way we’re called to live and this is the way that will ultimately lead to the greatest joy. Nothing we have is truly ours, it’s God’s! So let us give abundantly. If we live in this way, then at the end “when it’s finally time to say goodbye, there’s nothin’ to prove, nothin’ to lose, nothin’ to hide.”
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You taught me how to ride a bike / Tie my shoes and fly a kite / How to swim and how to fish / To see a star and make a wish / Said it’s ok to make mistakes / Just don’t get stuck in yesterday / Forgive, forget and move ahead / ‘Cause life is what you’re livin’ in / Now you’re gone and all I have / Are memories I hold dear / But if I’m quiet I hear your voice / Still ringin’ in my ears // CHORUS: Sayin’ live with no excuses / Love with no regrets / Laugh a lot and leave this life / With nothing left unsaid / Make this world a better place / Don’t be afraid to cry / When it’s finally time to say goodbye / There’s nothin’ to prove, nothin’ to lose, nothin’ to hide // You said life cannot be measured by / The place you live, the car you drive / The thing that counts the day you die / Is who you are and what’s inside / So tell the truth, don’t ever lie / Integrity at any price / Your word’s your bond, your highest prize / So guard it closely with your life / So many things I learned from you / ‘Bout life and love and play / But I learned more by how you lived / Than what I heard you say // CHORUS // I only want to live my life half as well as you / to leave behind what I’ve received / Is all I want to do / So I live with no excuses / And I love with no regrets / I laugh a lot and I leave this life / With nothing left unsaid / Make this world a better place / Don’t be afraid to cry / When it’s finally time to say goodbye / There’s nothin’ to prove, nothin’ to lose, nothin’ to hide