My only sibling, a brother, lives in Southern California. If I were to mention his place of employment, I’m fairly certain readers would know the name well. Just like many employees in large cities, he lives in a suburban community that by distance is not too terribly far, but in real time commuting could try the patience of Job. Off hours are not too bad; there just do not happen to be too many off hours on the thoroughfares, especially for those who enjoy seeing the city in the light of day.
I have had the opportunity to visit on several occasions. In as much as I try to approach life without putting too much value in temporal things, I still find myself attracted to some of the glitz and glamour of the typical sights in the area. One of those places is Beverly Hills. One time, if you can even imagine it, I brought a sack lunch, and unbelievably, I decided to eat in a little triangular park right there in the residential area. Sitting on a bench, I was admiring the homes in the vicinity and watching people walking through the park. I’m sure the passers-by were watching me too. Who knows what the locals thought of me with my homemade fare. As a “commoner,” I’m sure I looked like I didn’t belong, but it was a lovely spring day, and I enjoyed the warmth, beauty and peaceful setting the park provided.
The houses were mansions, to be sure. The finest masonry, meticulously manicured lawns and tall well–built fences or hedges were a part of each property. At one point, I turned around to see what was behind me. There, in the middle of this locality for the well-to-do was a construction site. It was obvious that something had been torn down to make room for a new home. The replacement structure was just a skeleton, and I was contemplating what would have led someone to tear down a manor. It was then that I registered this thought, “The owners of the original home believed that it would be here forever.” Hmmm. Mulling over that notion, I could imagine why: the materials used were the finest available, after all. In its day, this home had provided a luxurious haven for a member of high society. But, I know that God allowed me to register this thought because the implication was clear: nothing of material value will last forever.
And nothing means exactly that: NOT A THING! Possessions that are worth a lot by the world’s standards are temporary at best and can become a hindrance and a trap demanding time and attention that rightfully belong to those things that will last. Service to God and true worship, time and care for people, and expending effort for the salvation and discipleship of living souls are investments worth making. Jesus said as much when he stated, “Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:20-21).
Lest we be judgmental of those who may have what the world deems “the good things in life,” the trap is set for all. Believe me, God was reminding me to be careful as to how I was viewing this easily enviable lifestyle. Coveting is a sin, and it can be oh so easy to cross the line. God’s desire is that we keep our eyes on the prize, and the prize is always Him and His Kingdom. It needs to be what we seek after and hold most dear. So, if I ever venture back to that celebrated neighborhood, rather than just admire their upscale edifices, maybe I’ll walk through the neighborhood and pray for the people there. It just might add to heavenly treasure, which will last forever.
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