You buying or selling?
I have always marveled at how fear antagonizes me in the most subtle forms. While some folks chew their fingernails (Not judging just saying) I tend to bite my inner lip (don't judge me). I can consciously say, "Randy, stop biting your lip" and it works for about 1 minute. Then I go right back to biting the lip as I wrestle with something or another that has me concerned. (* insert confused look here.)
As a pastor, one would think I would never worry. They would be wrong. Human self-preservation is often stronger and more compelling than God inspired scriptures that instruct me 'to not worry'. Why is that? For me personally, it is this attachment to earthly things. My view is too narrow. I embrace 'the here and now' instead of the eternal. I sense I am not alone. My heart is focused on the wrong things. Time for open-heart surgery.
Take for instance our current world-wide pandemic situation. When even the slightest disturbance in the force is registered, a large number of people invested in the stock market twitch and begin a panicked sell-off of their assets. With the notion that a loss of money and assets could ruin us, we retreat into the safety of our resources and hunker down. We chew our fingernails and bite our lips. We preserve and protect. We sell!
With no research evidence to back my claim I share an event that happened about three weeks ago. I was watching a news report of the pandemic. The stock market report was rolling across the screen simultaneously. The numbers were paltry and in negative numbers and dropping quickly. The news switched to a report from the pandemic response task force. As the team shared their work and progress being made against the pandemic, the same paltry numbers slowed the descent and began to reverse. At the end of the 15 minute report from the response team, the Dow Jones, S&P, and Nasdaq had recovered and were all moving higher. Was the reversal a coincidence or were investors emboldened by the positive report from the task force? Who knows, but it did seem odd for it to occur during the report.
So many times, God reminds us to not worry but rather be filled with peace. We nod, smile, and bite our lip. Here in Matthew, Jesus spoke in the narrative known as "The Sermon on the Mount" of our penchant to worry about and pursue earthly things that are temporary. He also inferred that we also jettison those eternal things that cannot be taken from us. Jesus was instructing the reader of the Gospel that open heart surgery would be required to reform our hearts toward eternal things. We suffer from heart dysfunction. Why is that? (?????)
Treasures in Heaven
19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-21, NIV)
It isn't so wrong to be concerned about things around us but when we risk losing eternal security for the sake of embracing earthly things that are not going to last, then we are walking a road of no returns.....(see what I did there? "No returns.") (Stock market?) Oh, never mind.
If money and assets are the driving force for anyone's anxiety and nervous living, then just know that money isn't going to embrace your soul the way Jesus wants to. Jesus is right on target. Let's store up for ourselves treasures in heaven that cannot be lost, stolen, corrupted, or any other erosion.
At the end of this pandemic, yes, it will end, Jesus will still be telling us to not worry, to embrace his peace, and to seek eternal security. He will also be offering open-heart surgery free of charge. Are you buying? Are you selling? Decide to buy in today. It is an investment with benefits out of this world!
PS: Anyone catch the 'Star Wars" mention?