Saturday, September 08, 2007

Ivory towers

Grand Sweep Daily Reading: Amos 1, 2, 3; Psalm 119:121-144

Amos 3:14-15 (NIV)

14 “On the day I punish Israel for her sins, I will destroy the altars of Bethel; the horns of the altar will be cut off and fall to the ground. 15 I will tear down the winter house along with the summer house; the houses adorned with ivory will be destroyed and the mansions will be demolished.”

Matthew 6:19-21 (NIV)

19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasure on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Good morning!

There is a lakefront community not far from the neighborhood where we live. It is a picturesque place, and I love taking strolls on its lamp-lit streets in the early morning or at dusk, just before darkness sets in. Every home surrounding the lake is elegantly appointed. The grounds are meticulously kept. Many of the homes sport in-ground pools and tennis courts. One home in particular catches my eye every time I pass by. It is a full three stories, with a section of windows on the north side of the home that displays a magnificent library expanding all three levels. From the street you can see the tall cherry ladders on rollers where an avid reader would climb up to find just the perfect book for a late night reading. Jeff and I have lots of books, but I don’t think our library even comes close to the rich rooms of knowledge contained in this palatial estate.

When Joshua and Emily were staying with us last weekend, they asked Granny Deb to take them to the lake houses for a peek. We went just before dark, so they could see the lamps lit and glimmering along the lake shore. My favorite house, nestled in a secluded cove, had a “for sale” sign on it. How I would love to live in this house. This estate sits upon a terraced hill, nestled among towering Pine trees; the pathway to the front door lavishly decorated with a magnificent variety of Hostas and English Ivy. I can only imagine what the view from the bedroom window would be like. We’ve decided that our grandchildren, who by the way are really smart kids, will someday be able to buy a home just like this where their grandparents can live with them and they can spend their old age reading books of knowledge and enjoying walks along a lamp lit garden path.

For many, the acquisition of a large showcase home is imperative to their sense of well-being and happiness. We think we cannot live without a certain degree of comfort and sometimes, we sell our souls trying to attain it. The prophet Amos warned the kingdom of Israel of what might happen when we place all our eggs in one material basket. He said that God would tear down the winter house along with the summer house, the houses adorned with ivory would one day be destroyed and the mansions would be demolished. Jesus implored His disciples not to store up earthly treasures that would one day be stolen or destroyed, but to savor and seek after heavenly treasure, because God would find your heart wherever you place your treasure.

I was impressed when I saw the before and after photos of a new church parsonage recently erected in Mozambique. Sitting in the middle of an unmowed field, a meager house with thatched walls, dirt floor and tin roof was the safe haven for the pastor’s family. Through the gifts of many generous hearts and hands, a new parsonage had been erected next to the former home, sporting brick walls, a solid roof, concrete flooring, and a real front door with glass windows. This home was not much larger than its thatched cottage counterpart, but for the clergy family who was blessed to live within its walls, it must have been like moving into a mansion. I have a heart for parsonage families. I’ve lived in church parsonages since I was 19 years old, and our family is grateful for the church’s provision in the gift of a place we call home for a time.

Earthly treasure can be wiped away in the blink of an eye. This is not our final destination. Our homes on earth are temporary structures, not meant to last for eternity. God promises to those who seek His face a special place one day in His indestructible mansion of glory. It is a home that cannot be destroyed by the elements or insect infestation. No thief will ever be able to steal it away in the darkness of night. It is a place of guaranteed security, knowledge, and comfort. God’s glory will light the pathway in a mansion where darkness no longer exists. Every ivory tower will bow to the magnificence of Almighty God.

I long for the day when I will be home with the Lord forever. I imagine it will be like crossing over a bridge into the beautiful lamp-lit streets of gold, walking hand-in-hand with the Savior whom I love. Won’t you take a stroll with me today toward heavenly treasure? Lay aside the material and come seek the eternal. I’ll see you this weekend at Faith Church!

Grace and peace,

Deb Spaulding

Pray for: a desire to seek more than the temporary comforts of an earthly existence. Desire Christ’s heavenly treasure today. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.


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