On storing up treasure and living with and without God


The phrase “mid-life crisis” is well known. That period of self-doubt, self-examination, of “is this all there is?” Others call it a “breakdown”.  When brokeness IS normality.

Dying to self?  Mid-life crisis sums up “dying to self” (no God required).

I remember that period of my life. I had a label of depression. Time off work. Work was understanding. Then professionally tolerant. Then expectant. Then disappointed. Then ready.  I was damaged goods.  Made redundant of work.  Move him on. Move him out (but ask him back to complete a few projects).  It paid the bills.  It tested my new “post mid-life crisis muscles”. It got me normal again. Before I moved on again.

Did I mention my family?

Normality was paused for them. Uncertainty. Confusion. Keeping things going. Waiting. Hoping. Always hoping. Waiting for the income-earner to earn again. To become normal again.  To become strong again.  And then income from a different job in a different town in a different house. Another move.  New friends to make a new “life” to bed-in and a new normality to find.

Dying to self with – or without – God is messy. It affects real people. Lots of real people.

“If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!”

I never thought of light as darkness before. Light was always light and darkness was always darkness. Simple. We like things simple I think. Yet living rarely is. Living is messy. Living affects real people. Lots of real people.

“Jesus said, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light; but if your eye is unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!”” Matthew 6:19-23

I think that storing up treasure is always choices. Always striving.  Where to keep “treasure” – how to get “treasure” – how to insure “treasure” – how to find “treasure” – who to stand on to make sure I have enough income, enough job security, enough to pay the bigger and bigger bills. Always seems simple. Always gets messy. Storing up treasure is living.  And living affects real people.

My dad gave all of us children the same advice (with hindsight): “Spend less time at church and more time at home.”  Spend less time with those you “love” – and more time with those you love, who you have given life, who love you unconditionally – those you take for granted so often.

In my case it was never church.  It was work. Storing up treasure of house and home. Of prestige and profession. Of title and entitlement.

But I knew what my dad meant.  I wrote mum and dad “my childhood” – I wanted them to know what a great job they had done.  My childhood memories.  My happy childhood. My wonderfully happy childhood. Just without much dad in it.  He was never there in between work and church.  Just as I was never there much for our children in between work and more work. In between work and fixing things. Until I broke.

“If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!”

I think treasure is not “where and what”. I think treasure is “who”. Which means that I can make God stuff as much “rusty moth-eaten treasure” as I can anything else. I can make any Thing (and every Thing) rusty and moth eaten.  I can even make brokenness normal.  I can see darkness as light even though it is still darkness.  And then I got saved!!  And then …

All this being saved?  All this giving my life to the Lord?  All this finding God?

That can be as much another mid-life crisis as a “mid-life crisis”. That can be as much depression as “depression”.  Because being saved is just another journey – another striving – another storing up – another bunch of choices between “where and what” and/or “who”.

And when “doing God” in church, with church, and a diary of church … when that takes over … when that takes over saying “no” to church … when that takes over … when letting people down is letting church down … when saying “no” to church stuff is a no-no … when that becomes the priority …

Is “where” your treasure – and is “what” your treasure … ?  Or is your treasure “who” … and if so – just who is “who” … ?

“If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!”

Power, and God stuff, prestige, and church stuff, position, and bible stuff, title and kingdom entitlement stuff ….  I can make God my rusty moth-eaten treasure just as much as I can any “Thing” and every “Thing”.  Being saved has little to do with how I live. Living has to do with how I live.

And my “light” can be my darkness just as much as my “darkness” can be my darkness. 

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8 thoughts on “On storing up treasure and living with and without God

  1. Absolutely true, Paul. Anything can be a treasur or idol. Good things included. Thanks for being transparent, I see some mid-life things dangling everywhere I go that I’d like to make treasure of…

    • Thank you Mark – “mid-life things dangling everywhere”?

      I love your word-craft – that phrase had me thinking about Walt Disney’s “Jungle Book” – and Baloo – all day!!

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