Where Are Your Treasures Buried?

by Kendra Broekhuis

I left my freshly baked cookies cooling on the kitchen counter, the windows slightly opened and the doors locked, so I could run a few errands with our toddler. The scent of peanut butter mingled with the early autumn breeze in a way that said both “delicious” and “welcome.”

Apparently it was too warm of a welcome, because I came home to find many of those cookies missing from my kitchen counter. I assumed my husband had stopped by and grabbed one or six, and reminded myself to flash my Annoyed Wife Eyes at him later.

I put the remaining cookies in a plastic container and brought our son upstairs to lay him down for a nap. At the top of the steps, I noticed a peanut butter cookie lying crumbled on the carpet, and another resting on top of our kids’ bunk bed. I had the eerie feeling I wasn’t alone. My heart pounded as I kept my eyes peeled for anything else out of place. I turned the corner into another bedroom and squirrel. There was a squirrel in my house, stealing my peanut butter cookies and hiding them all the way upstairs.

I ran to get a broom to shoo it out of our house – all the while frantically demanding the mute creature to tell me his secrets: “How did you get in here?!” I chased it downstairs and watched it weasel its way through a hole in our window screen it had chewed for entry. I slammed the window shut and let out a breathy chuckle of relief.

A further investigation would reveal the pesky intruder had stashed cookies all over the house, including in my husband’s stack of t-shirts. Though my neighbors and I joke that our squirrels are possessed by demons, this behavior comes quite naturally to them. Squirrels prepare for winter by storing their nutty treasures all over their domain. What this squirrel got wrong, in my slightly biased opinion, is where he decided to store his treasures.

There’s a lesson to be learned here, besides remembering to replace nylon window screens with bite-proof steel. Jesus encouraged His disciples to make sure they were storing their treasures in the right place:

“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).

Jesus wants us to examine where our heart’s focus lies. Do we think of our work and possessions in light of the fact that our lives on earth are as fleeting as a mist? Do we obsessively accumulate stuff, always seeking the next purchase we think will make us happy? Do we constantly worry about the future we know that God has already planned for us? Do we work for our own glory instead of praising Jesus for the good things He has done for us?

When we change our perspective from “for now on earth” to “forever in heaven,” we can learn to hold loosely everything we can see, taste, and touch, knowing it could all be taken away in a moment. We use our earthly possessions to love others and work to glorify God’s name over our own. When we store our treasures in heaven, we value our relationship with the One who has promised us the gift of eternal life with Him – above all else.

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5 NIV

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“When we store our treasures in heaven, we value our relationship with God . . . above all else.” Kendra Broekhuis on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Kendre BroekhuisAbout the author: Kendra Broekhuis is an author, speaker, and intentional neighbor living in the city of Milwaukee. For her day job, Kendra stays home with three of her children and misses her fourth in heaven. She recently launched an online community called Mourning Companion where people can safely lament their sorrow and see their grief articulated. To read more, follow her on Facebook and Instagram at @kendrabroekhuis and @mourningcompanion, and at www.kendrabroekhuis.com. Or grab a copy of her book, Here Goes Nothing: An Introvert’s Reckless Attempt to Love Her Neighbor.

Join the conversation: How do you store your treasures up in heaven?

Being Seen Versus Being Fruitful

by Kendra Broekhuis 

It didn’t take a green thumb to see that two of our tomato plants were growing very differently from each other.

One stood impressively tall, so large that the weight of its stem and leaves had overwhelmed the wire cage meant to support it. It was always the first to catch my eye whenever I glanced at the small garden behind our house. The tomato plant next to it was dwarfed in comparison, barely noticeable next to its flashy neighbor’s lush greenery.

But as June and July’s sunshine battered my plants and rain watered them both, it became evident that showy greenery and towering height didn’t matter so much. The smaller plant began to bear fruit.

In fact, it grew so much fruit, that come harvest time, there were tomatoes ripe for the picking every other day. What the little plant lacked in grand outward appearances, it made up for by fulfilling the actual purpose of a tomato plant – producing tomatoes.

When I’m honest with myself, I know there are times I would rather be the large tomato plant.

Like when my life as a mother of three little children leaves me feeling unsung and isolated, or my career as a writer has me longing for the platform of authors much more famous than I. Some days I simply wish to feel seen. But then I remember that no matter how much I am noticed by others, my most important purpose is in bearing fruit.

Jesus fleshed out this concept with a garden metaphor, calling Himself the Vine and His people branches. He emphasized the importance of bearing fruit, for branches that are not fruit-bearing are worthless to a gardener (John 15:2).

And then Jesus gave His disciples the secret to bearing fruit: abiding in Him.

Bearing fruit is not accomplished by focusing on growing big enough to be seen. It means intentionally connecting with God, enjoying His love and keeping His commandments. It means living yielded to the Holy Spirit, who will produce His good fruit in my life, be it love, joy, peace, and the like. It means drawing everything I need from my true source of life: Jesus Christ.

Do you struggle with feeling unseen? Rather than striving to stand out from the crowd, instead may you abide in Jesus. Choose to be a branch that will focus on staying connected to The Vine. It truly is the only place you can truly thrive and bear fruit.

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing (John 15:5 ESV).

 Kendre BroekhuisAbout the author: Kendra Broekhuis is the author of Here Goes Nothing: An Introvert’s Reckless Attempt to Love Her Neighbor. For her day job, Kendra stays home with three of their children and lives as an intentional neighbor in the inner city of Milwaukee. She recently started an online community called Mourning Companion, which is a safe space to lament life’s sorrows. To read more, follow her social media feeds and visit her website at www.kendrabroekhuis.com.

Join the conversation: What have you found helpful to you in learning to abide in The Vine?

Photo by Rafael Corrêa on Unsplash