Have you ever been sailing along, happily reading through Scripture, when you get snagged on a verse? You read it over and over, and yeah, by golly it still says the same thing. I was in my prayer room this morning happily flipping through different passages when this happened to me. Here is what I read:
Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering. Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. Hebrews 10:32-35
Do you see it? The line jumped out at me, in fact it was like one of those speed bumps in the parking lot you sail over when you’re not really paying attention. “Joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property.” I don’t know about you, but if anyone came to confiscate my property I would not be joyful about it. I would be shrieking, “Mine, mine, mine!” like a three-year old fighting over a toy. Well, maybe not out loud, but in my heart, that’s what I would be saying.
Basically, I want to keep what’s mine unless I have some control about who gets it. And I think I have a pretty healthy perspective on things and their value. I believe in being a good steward of what God has given me and I work hard to not live above my means.
I, or I should say we, since I am a co-owner, made a decision about 8 years ago to downsize drastically and get out of debt. I think it was one of the best decisions we ever made. We went from a nice home on a corner lot, to a manufactured home in a 55 plus community. No, I wasn’t 55 when I moved in, but if you are 45 or so they will make concessions, especially if you have cash in hand and one of you is 55 or close to it. And right after our home sold? The real estate market crashed. We got the most money for our home that anyone will ever get. It was God’s timing.
And I love this place, it’s home. A little oasis in the desert. A place of peace carved out in the here and now.
Having said all that, I still struggle with that line in the verse.
I know I still clutch too tightly to things. I want to keep my iPhone and my iPad, thank you. I can do some good with those. I am American and I have lived 53 years with the idea of the American Dream. When an ideology has shaped how you think and live, it is not an easy thing to turn loose of. The early church didn’t live with that dream, however. They had a living breathing Messiah that they would have followed to the ends of the earth. And so do we.
One thing I do know, that if I had everything taken away today? If my world, everyone and everything in it picked clean like Job’s was? I would hate it, but I would still be okay somehow because God would bring me through it.
Because the hope the early church had is mine too.
Because I have learned that Jesus is my everything and nothing this world has to offer could ever compare with Him.
Because the true treasures of this life are people and not things, and I know that if they were all gone today, it would be only a little while before I would see them again in Heaven.
That’s what the early church had.
That’s what you and I have too.