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.

Matt 6:19-21 (NIV)

I was living in Seattle, and commuting across the lake every day by bus. The east side of the lake was an upper-income area (for example, Bill Gates lived there) and the bus stop just prior to the bridge on that side was under-utilized. In fact, it was rare that I saw anyone got on or off the bus at that stop. Those that did were young professionals who parked their cars in the "Park and Ride" lot and caught the bus into Seattle.

Imagine my surprise when one afternoon I saw a derelict get on the bus. Beneath the unkempt and unwashed hair and the layers of ragged clothes, I couldn't even discern if the person was a man or woman. But the main thing I noticed was the huge plastic bag that this person was carrying. It was stuffed full of garbage! Often you would see street people carrying bags of aluminum cans and bottles that they could take to recycling centers to get some change. But this bag looked like something that had been taken from the garbage receptacle at the bus stop: old soda cups with straws, fast food lunch sacks with dirty napkins, used tissues, and the like. I was too far away to tell if there was an associated odor as well, but I imagine there must have been one. The derelict sat in one of the front seats, holding the bag like it was full of precious jewels that might be snatched by someone else, though nothing in it had any practical or monetary value to anyone.

I got off the bus at the next stop, and I never saw the derelict again. However, as I walked away from the bus stop, I considered how tragic it was that someone could have a perspective so warped that refuse seemed valuable to them. But then the Spirit nudged me and asked "Are you any different?" I think I must have stopped in my tracks right there on the sidewalk!

In fact, my perspective was no better than that of the derelict. My "trash" may have been less smelly and dirty, but in the eyes of heaven, my computer, piano, car, and everything else that I owned and valued was mere Earthly garbage. In First Corinthians 7:29-31, the apostle Paul tells us not to be engrossed in the things of the world because it is all passing away. It is all temporary and, as such, its only value is in how it can be used to serve the Lord. Considering earthly goods as having any innate value is a form of treasuring it - and Jesus said that our hearts would be where we perceived our treasure to be. Should I set my heart, even a little, on the worthless things of the world? No. I will set my heart on the incomparable riches of heaven; riches which will make even Bill Gates' mansion seem like a hovel. Riches that will make all the gold, silver, and platinum in the world seem as if they were all garbage from a bus stop.

Lord, maintain a heavenly perspective in my mind toward the things of the world so that I will see them as tools to glorify You, and not as "valuables".