Robbed!

On Sunday, millions of television viewers witnessed a robbery. A popular rap star robbed a teen-age singer of her moment to shine. Taylor Swift was awarded a VMA award and Kanye West, indignant that Beyonce did not win the award, rudely interrupted Taylor’s acceptance speech and robbed her of her moment to enjoy her victory. Later on, Beyonce kindly sacrificed her own winning moment to allow Taylor to reclaim hers but it’s not the same. That’s what robbery does.

I have to admit, I never understood why “Thou shalt not steal” made it into the Ten Commandments. I mean, I know stealing is bad but it seemed like such a materialistically driven command. I spent my teen-age years watching Godspell and creating skits based on the Sermon on the Mount for camp and that all seemed bent toward having a loose hold on material things. So why make theft a Biblical felony?

Then, one day, someone robbed me of my reputation. Then, someone robbed me of fellowship. Then, someone robbed me of my joy in serving Christ within the church and I began to understand why stealing made God’s top ten list of “don’ts”.

Satan is a thief and a liar. Those who do the same follow in his cloven footprints and wreak the same destructive havoc. To be robbed is a terrible thing. Ask those who invested their money with Bernie Madoff – beyond the actual dollars, they were robbed of freedom, trust, security, independence, and self-respect. We can be robbed of so much more than our material possessions.

Matthew 6: 19-21 says, “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 be also.”

For many years, I figured I practiced this verse because my possessions are few and my means are humble but when I was robbed of my reputation, my fellowship and my joy, I realized there were more wrong things I could treasure besides material possessions. I can treasure what others think of me. I can treasure a particular ministry or place of worship. I can treasure my own abilities, the praise of others, the glory of a particular office or expression of my spiritual gifts.
There’s nothing wrong with finding joy in these things but treasuring them implies that I am banking on them, storing them up, making them my own “precious” like Gollum’s ring. If it can be stolen on earth, it should not be treasured.

Kanye West robbed Taylor Swift of her moment of glory. It was a vicious, unkind, thoughtless act and it can never be repaid. If Taylor treasures for herself those moments of glory, this act of thievery can tear at her for years to come and produce in her a bitterness and anger that will mar her creative talent and her soul’s beauty. If, however, Taylor treasures what cannot be stolen, then she can move past this event, she can be free to move forward, she can let him rob her of that moment but nothing more.

What do you treasure? Can it be stolen from you? What are the treasures that cannot be stolen – that rest hidden in Christ until His return? Are these the things that are foremost in your mind to possess? Or are you, too, at risk of being robbed of all you hold dear?

There is only one Lo-jack for the things of the heart and that is to trust them all to Jesus.


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11 Comments

    The Conversation

  1. Anonymous says:

    Lori, Your insights are amazing. Those real life examples that you apply to what were to me religious theory (vague at best) have begun to open my heart and mind to an understanding of spirituality and perhaps have openened the door to a belief in God.
    Thanks,
    John

  2. John, So wonderful to have you drop in again! I hope you are healing and feeling better. You know you are always in my prayers!

  3. Cheri says:

    Lori, you said, “I realized there were more wrong things I could treasure besides material possessions. I can treasure what others think of me. I can treasure a particular ministry or place of worship. I can treasure my own abilities, the praise of others, the glory of a particular office or expression of my spiritual gifts.

    “There’s nothing wrong with finding joy in these things but treasuring them implies that I am banking on them, storing them up, making them my own “precious” like Gollum’s ring. If it can be stolen on earth, it should not be treasured.”

    This really impacted me. You have spoken the truth in such a simple, easy-to-understand manner. I must agree with John above. Your insights daily challenge me to scrutinize my own heart.

    Even as I watched the video clip you posted, I could feel my ire roused on behalf of Taylor Swift, and I realize that though my response is genuine and rooted in a desire to see justice served, it is also indicative of a tie with the world that might need a little severing.

    Wow, thanks!

    Cheri

    PS – Did you figure out the Navigation bar?

  4. It’s a lesson I’m still learning every day, Cheri, and, no, I haven’t figured out the bar. Blessings! Lori

  5. sarah says:

    I don’t treasure anything material – if I lost them, I can replace them. But if I lost my kids, I don’t know if I could live, and I care too much what people think about me. :{

  6. Most of us don’t know how we would survive losing our children, Sarah. I do think it’s good to pray about letting go of what people think of us. I’m still working on that. 🙂 Thanks for visiting!

  7. Greg says:

    Oops! You misspelled “treasure”, in your labels. :O

    We live in a material world, and it seems only natural to put our trust and affections into things we can see. But the real test of this life is if we can love Jesus more than all that, even our own children. After all, He said that if we do not love God above all else, we cannot be His disciples.

  8. Just Be Real says:

    Lori, this is an excellent post with depth. Great insight. Thank you for sharing. Blessings.

  9. Thank you, Just Be Real. I’m trying to be just that.

    Thanks for catching the typo, Greg.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Ooooo this is a good one. I may have to “steal” some of this wisdom and use it at my Men’s Retreat!(Kidding!!!) I think I was with you there for much of the heart ripping, but thank you for your words, and thank God for healing.

  11. You know where to go for the same wisdom – same place I get mine, bro! Stay strong. 🙂 God makes us stronger in the broken places.