I’m sure you’ve heard this already, but there are some big wildfires blazing throughout Southern California–considerably closer to home than I like thinking about. The sky is hazy from smoke, the TV and radio are constantly broadcasting “fire updates” and many families are evacuated or on alert, hoping that a few nights of sleep is all that they lose.
It’s tragically funny, I guess, how easy it is to focus on our homes and possessions that could easily be gobbled up in minutes–thanks to hot winds, dry conditions, or a thousand other unknown factors. It makes me feel small, in a scary but healthy way. I realize some obvious truths when disaster strikes close by. I see that all of my striving doesn’t really mean much in the big scheme of things, and I start to put much more value on people than the cute throw pillow I’ve been drooling over and desperately wanting to purchase.
When faced with disaster, we start thinking about the keepsakes we would grab and the people we would call. I remember, in these times, that legacies and relationships are so much more valuable than “stuff”. I’m ashamed of the countless times that I’ve sought things above people, and I’m reminded of where my treasure is.
As Jesus said in Matthew 6:19-21: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But 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.”
It’s a familiar verse, but a hard truth to remember. As hard as it is to see people suffer in fear and loss, or to fear such realities ourselves, it is comforting to know that we have a home that can never be burnt in a wildfire, destroyed by a hurricane or swept out to sea in a tsunami. It’s a unique and astounding truth, and when these kinds of tough situations occur, it’s also more valuable than countless piles of “stuff”.