Tuesday, November 22, 2011

God in the Mess, Part Two

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy
and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven,
where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." - Matthew 6:19-20

Ellie's spit-up hits the floor with a slap, a puddle of curdled milk on my recently cleaned hardwood floors.  I know that the process of wiping it up will not only soil yet another burp cloth from the stack that just came out of the wash, but that it will also leave an unsightly smear on the floor's shiny surface, the very one I worked so hard to achieve.

"Oh Ellie," I sigh, shifting her to my left hip, squatting down to clean up the mess with my right hand.  Part of me feels bad for her, for the discomfort the spit-up must be to her, but mostly, I am tired of dealing with it, tired of the ways it messes with my neat little world.


When I read Matthew 6, I usually think about money and worldly possessions, about wanting more stuff and pouring too much energy into getting it.  I tend to think it doesn't have much to say to me.  After all, I'm content with my '97 Saturn, power locks and sunroof long since broken, gold interior fabric drooping from the ceiling.  I don't buy (or want to buy) Coach purses.  I cut coupons. 
But Jesus doesn't define treasure so narrowly.  Based on the context of the passage, He defines treasure as anything that captures our hearts, anything that is of earthly value, anything that won't last until eternity.  That includes my shiny hardwood floors.  It includes my new $10 shirt from Target that Ellie stains with her spit-up.  It includes my image of a perfectly clean and tidy little house, an image that I work very hard to "lay up for myself."  These are things I treasure.  They are things Jesus says I should not treasure.
This is one way that God is present in the mess.  He is using Ellie's spit-up and her toys all over the floor and her baby food finger painting to remind me that my treasures of neatness and order can be destroyed and stolen, that my heart must be captivated by greater treasure.

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