This morning on my drive to the office I spotted a thick cloud of smoke coming from somewhere close to the road. A few hundred yards further I saw the source of the smoke—a car was smoldering in the parking lot of a mostly-empty strip mall. As I briefly watched the firefighters from station 24 at work, I noticed that the car appeared to be a BMW. Something about that intrigued me. Some cars drive past and you’re surprised that they are not on fire. But a BMW—well, that’s different.
The words of Jesus came to mind: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19–21 ESV).
I’m not suggesting that it is wrong to own a BMW, nor do I have any idea what the heart condition of the owner of this car is. Here was a reinforcement, though, that earthly wealth is inherently transient. Jesus reminded his hearers of this fact so that they would focus on heavenly treasures, which are permanent.
It has been said that we Americans are a future-oriented people, but I’m convinced that our future orientation would be better if it more consistently included a longer-term focus that included life beyond the grave. For those of us in the younger generations, it is easy to lose perspective; we forget that after we die or Jesus returns for us, the game changes fundamentally. At that time, may it be said that we lived this life in anticipation of the next.