“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth,
where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal.
But store up treasures in heaven,
where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal.
For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.”
I’m not much of a fan of reality TV, but I’ve been watching a show called “Hoarders” and it’s fascinating and scary. It chronicles people whose houses are so full of stuff, sometimes good stuff sometimes not, that they can barely function. Sometimes there is so much stuff that the authorities take the children away for their safety, or perhaps the clutter is so much that the house is in danger of being condemned. These people have accumulated so much that they have put themselves and their families in physical danger. The Gospel today says that accumulation can also put your soul in danger. Or it at least says that physical accumulation is silly. What use is it to accumulate physical stuff on earth? The treasure is not here but is in the next world. Instead of gathering stuff here, we should be preparing for heaven, and putting too much energy in earthly things can endanger our heavenly treasure.
I think one of the reasons I’m so intrigued with the hoarding shows is that I probably used to be one. If not, I was pretty close. I was a pack-rat and a collector. My home used to be very cluttered. I felt it was wasteful to throw out something that could be useful. And I always thought I would get around to using something. When I got married and my husband and I moved into a house together, I ended up throwing away a lot of stuff instead of moving it. I still moved a lot. My husband was a much better housekeeper than I, and made sure stuff stayed neater and more organized in our home.
That’s not to say stuff didn’t still accumulate. Since he died, I think I’ve done a very admirable job of keeping our home pretty neat. Not as good as he would, but really good for me! But I’ve also stopped buying stuff. I look around and see that there is really so much stuff and so little of it really meaningful or necessary. I’m trying to decrease the accumulation here by donating clothes and stuff to the homeless shelters and the thrift stores. There are so many people who are truly in need, and so many who have too much. I should donate my surplice to those who lack. Once I die, someone will have to deal with it all. Then what good will it do me? You can’t take it with you. There is no real treasure here; it’s all in the next world.