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 also be. Matthew 6:19-21
Around my house the word “pet” stands for Psychologically and Emotionally Tethered – in other words, they are family. We currently have two dogs, three rats, and four fish. I talk with them all as my own children; my fur and fin babies.
I had a particular rat back in December named “Almond” who had a stroke in the early hours of a morning. I woke up and found him struggling around his cage; so, I spent my day trying to nurse him with special foods, dropperfuls of sugar water, and comforting affection – lots and lots of affection. I wanted to strengthen him to want to live, but he would have none of the food and very little of the water I offered him. He just wanted the affection; in fact, he didn’t want me to put him down. When I had to, he would whimper pitifully and try to follow me.
By the time my husband returned home from work that evening, it was certain Almond was going die and I didn’t want him to be alone, so, my husband and I took turns holding him, and late that evening Almond’s breathing became labored, then he could only breathe when we held him in a certain position, and finally my husband said he was certain that Almond’s heart had stopped beating. So, I stroked Almond’s fur and said goodbye to him one last time. Chris gasped suddenly that Almond’s heart had just begun to beat again. For a moment we could tell Almond was back with us and trying to focus on us, and then his heart stopped beating for good. He died focusing on my husband and I, listening to us and soaking up our affection.
As Chris and I shed tears over Almond’s death, we wondered over the fact that Almond’s heart seemed to react to my presence even in death. That moment of renewal, when Almond’s heart seemed to beat again at the recognition of my presence made me feel treasured by him. It was such a sweet moment for me I haven’t stopped wondering about it. I realized that my own heart could relate with his. I have a Father in God for whom my heart beats. His love and affection, His nourishment and provision far outweighs the care I was able to give Almond, but through God the Son, Jesus Christ, I have submitted my life to the family of God and His care. I can say along with Paul in Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
This week, I have been challenged. I am on a cruise with my sister celebrating our forties and taking a break from our duties being wives and mothers. Being on a cruise is a very selfish kind of vacation because for an entire week you are treated like royalty. You can actually close your eyes and do nothing, there are literally hundreds of people on board this ship to do everything for you with a smile and a nod. There has been congestion and arguing among passengers at times because we are all lulled into believing the entire week revolves around us individually. I wish I could say that I haven’t fallen into this trap, but I must be honest that I have found myself bickering with my sister once or twice, and I haven’t always been gracious and merciful in my heart when I observe the people around me reacting to the same stimuli of vanity, covetousness, and all forms of flattery and gluttony. I have to wonder where my treasure truly lies, and I am sure there are people here who might wonder the same thing. I am mortified! I had a five minute tirade whilst eating dinner the other night over the amount of skin I have to look at if I want to sit out in the sun next to my sister. Is it truly my place to judge and complain about what others are wearing or not wearing? Does it matter what I think on this matter other than that it is a device used by the deceiver to divide me from others I may have had some good influence on if I had only kept my eyes on my own person and my tongue under lock and key?
I am repentent. Truly I am. Where does my treasure lie, and whom do I truly seek with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength? I know that my heart treasures Christ, I am His follower. From this knowledge I can regroup and regain my ground and footing. Though I walk through the marketplace of Vanity Fair, I do not need to partake in its treasures, but like my beloved pet Almond stay focused on my Father and provider. Oh, that I may regain the ground I have lost in this my pilgrimage.
Lord, I beg of you to cleanse my heart and renew a right spirit within me. I want to honor You with all of me that I might find treasure only in You. An eternal treasure I will know the likes of no where else. Bring me to a right understanding and help me to purify myself by obeying the truth so I have a sincere love for others and a focus only on You. Amen.