The crash echoed through the house and I ran for the dining room. There on the floor lay my favorite statue. My toddler’s lip quivered and he stammered in halting baby language, “I try bring it to you. Now it broken.”
I gathered his small body in my arms and looked at the pieces on the floor. “Do not lay up for yourselves” I breathed out as tears gathered in the corners of my own eyes.
There are things we own that are so precious, but very few of them last. Everything in my home that breaks reminds me that we press toward another kingdom. One that isn’t of this earth. We get to bring the eternal souls of our kids, and there it will be beautiful, and nothing will ever be broken.
Obeying God vs Seeing Him
This passage is in the middle of what we know now as “The Sermon on the Mount”. Many religious leaders have taken this section to make the standards humans must live to even greater, but viewed in context it reveals the paradoxical nature of the kingdom of God that Jesus is trying to explain.
Religious leaders at this time were hyper-fixated on keeping the laws perfectly. Even adding laws to make themselves appear more holy. We see some examples of this when they tithe even “mint and cumin” which would have been from their household herb gardens.
Jesus uses this section of teaching to show even though they were adding to the law they were doing it in performative ways instead of focusing on the heart. To live right with God on our own our motivations not just actions have to be above board. This would require them to put aside things that made them look good, and work on the inner heart. Many of those things would have required them to lay aside power and take up equality with people they would have despised.
Having the benefit of hindsight we realize that what he was trying to tell them is they can’t clean up their lives on their own, and that wasn’t ever the purpose of the law. The law was never given to burden us, but rather to point us to Jesus who could fully keep the law.
What he repeats over and over in this section is that what matters most in the new kingdom aren’t burdensome, arbitrary laws, but the eternal souls of our neighbors.
What is Your Treasure?
Even now this is a temptation we fight In church we fight over who gets the leadership spots and titles. In our homes, it’s about who gets the last word. With our kids, it’s about being “in charge”.
This verse is a reminder that the goal of believers isn’t to get everything out of life that we can or to collect a showroom that celebrates our good taste. But to value souls made in his image.