Pastoral Relief and Retreat

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Wethersfield, CT, United States
I am Pastor at Poquonock Community Church, Congregational (CCCC) in Windsor, CT. My wife Jama and I live in Wetherfield, CT. We'd like to invite you to Terre Haute -- High Ground -- That's what Jama and I call the retreat space on our property. We offer free intentional get-away retreats. We'll feed you and house you and give you space to be with the Lord. All are welcome; no questions asked. This blog is my daily devotional journal. I write it because it is so easy to go for weeks without ever taking the time to be alone with God. Writing helps me develop a discipline I need.

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Monday, January 19, 2009

January 16, 2009 Treasure and Anxiety

READ: Matthew 6:19-34
19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal,
20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.
21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light,
23 but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!

24 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?
26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?
28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin,
29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, What shall we eat? or What shall we drink? or What shall we wear?
32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.
33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Here's a collection of sayings all about what we "lay up". That's a fancy way of talking about the things we store or collect or build one upon another that affect our lives. A lot has been said about our 44th president recently. There's a lot of promise going into his inaugural. There's a lot of planning and preparation going on. This is a man who has invested a great deal in getting where he is. Have you looked at Jimmy Carter (#39), George H.W. Bush (#41), Bill Clinton (#42) or even George W. Bush (#43) recently. They're looking pretty tired and old. Why is that? They each started their presidency with that same enthusiasm. They each invested a lot in getting to be president.

You'd think they'd have built even more excitement having had all that power and money to throw around for 4 or 8 years. But actually, the reverse is true. They're right. You can't take it with you. In fact, the genius of our American system of government is exactly in knowing when to leave power behind. Power and glory, money and fame -- none of these can be stored.

At the end of the 1968 movie "Patton" the voice of George C. Scott is heard saying this, "For over a thousand years Roman conquerors returning from the wars enjoyed the honor of a triumph, a tumultuous parade. In the procession came trumpeters and musicians and strange animals from the conquered territories together with carts laden with treasure and captured armaments. The conqueror rode in a triumphal chariot the dazed prisoners walking in chains before him. Sometimes, his children, robed in white stood with him in the chariot, or rode the trace horses. A slave stood behind the conqueror holding a golden crown and whispering in his ear a warning that all glory... is fleeting."

General Patton worked his way up from West Point cadet to 4-Star General. He had everything he wanted. And then, just as he was about to retire, on December 21, 1945 -- not even six months after the end of World War 2, Patton was struck and killed by a run-away truck while riding in his jeep. Ironically, the jeep was traveling no more than 20 miles per hour. Patton loved the Army, probably loved war with his whole heart. His treasure was definitely where his heart was.

What are you investing yourself in? Is it your job? Your family? Your spouse? Your position in life? Wouldn't it be great if we could take all that with us to present to the King at the Last Day. But as Job said, "Naked I came from my mother's womb, And naked I shall return there. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD." (Job 1:21) Actually, the only thing we CAN take with us when we go is the Lord. Even those souls we've won for him belong to him anyway. They aren't ours to own or even brag about. My suggestion is that you invest everything you can into Christ and your relationship with him. That's what you'll have at the end.

Jon

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