We have four toddlers and, as many people know, the toddler in his most natural state is often found shouting “Mine, Mine, Mine!” in the face of his brothers and sisters. We actually have one child that tries to carry all of her favorite toys around with her so that her brothers and sister cannot touch them. Ironically, her hands are so full that she cannot even enjoy playing with them. Day in and day out they strive to create little kingdoms for themselves where they have all their favorite things around them and seek to bring others into subjection to their wills, thinking of no one but themselves.
And this is not the condition of toddlers alone, but it is the condition of us all, apart from Christ. Dave and I do not consider ourselves sentimental people, but as we are trying to get rid of most all our possessions so we can go overseas, I honestly do not like it. I like to have my favorite things around me and find it hard to part with things that have brought me so much joy and remind me of good times in the past. And yet, this is not my kingdom and this is not my home.
Our oldest son, Kaden, asked me the other day, “Mommy are you home?” and I told him, “No Kaden this is not mommy’s home—mommy’s home is in Heaven.” He just stared at me confused but I pray that someday he will see the distinction between himself and his Christian parents. We are not living to create a Kingdom for ourselves on this earth, filled with toys and comfort, but we are living in anticipation for all the delights of Heaven.
That is easy to say on paper, but having to sell all that we own is where the rubber hits the road. And so we go back to Scripture to remind ourselves that Heaven is way better than any so-called “Heaven” I try to create for myself on earth. Specifically,
My Toys on Earth Break, but my Toys in Heaven Do Not
Matthew 6:19-20 “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.
Even if I am able to attain everything I want on earth, it will not last. My earthly treasures will rust, break, and possibly be stolen. However, on the new Earth, which is not subject to corrosion or moral evils, my treasures are secure and will last.
The City Made by God is Better
Hebrews 11:8-10 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.
Abraham left everything familiar and lived in a tent. Why? Because he believed God’s promise—that something better was to come. God promised him that the city he was building for him was better than the one he had left behind. So, he left it all, not knowing where he was going, because he was convinced that what was to come would be better than what he had left. His belief in the unseen liberated him to let go of what he knew and to live uncomfortably for a time.
So, since we know confidently that Heaven offers us eternal rest and comfort, we are freed from the “toddler” within us that wants to hoard toys and cry out “Mine! Mine!” What is mine is Heaven, not Earth as we know it.
Only through Faith can the Better City be Seen
A comment we have said to our kids before is, “Kids, trust that in Christ, all the treasures you could ever want is secure so you do not have to hoard things now—you can be freed up to share.” This comment is met with four blank stares followed by them slowly trying to yank toys out of one another’s hands. Why? Because it is only through faith that the above comment is not crazy and they do not yet possess faith. If you do not believe in Heaven then you will live like this is Heaven. If you do not believe in just a little while everything on Earth will be lost, then you will hang on to possessions as tightly as you can.
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
So as we think about selling everything, our faith is tested and (hopefully) will grow. Our confidence in the promise of Heaven is the God-ordained method to loosen our grip on what we own here on earth. We cannot see all the “toys” that await us, but that is the essence of faith.
This is what I mean, brothers: the appointed time has grown very short. From now on, let those…who buy as though they had no goods, and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away.1 Corinthians 7:29-31