My family and I woke up yesterday morning to phone calls and texts from concerned friends, along with a fine layer of ash covering our house and cars.

Around 4am authorities evacuated the adjacent neighborhood, within a mile away from our home because of a large, fast-moving, six-alarm brush fire.

Living in an area that is mostly exempt from natural disasters, I have never really considered what it might be like to lose everything in a sudden moment. But yesterday we came dangerously close to that reality, and it got me thinking…

My initial thoughts were the usual: what would I grab if I only had a couple minutes to salvage a few things? What do I value most? My new backpacking pack, stuffed with my laptop and external hard drive, my Bible, a Manchester United shirt, along with whatever other clothes I could quickly cram in… then there’s my snowboard in the garage! Would I have time to grab that too?

Then the even more sobering thought rocked me: what if I didn’t have any time at all, and I had to watch my house with all my possessions burn to rubble with just the clothes on my back?

How much would this grieve me?

How attached am I to my material possessions?

How much of my joy is bound to mere things?

Things that will eventually wear out, rust, be replaced by other things, or sold and given away later on as I no longer desire them…

Oh God, forgive me for deriving my joy from my earthly treasures! Forgive me for feeling entitled to my possessions. Help me to enjoy your blessings with an open hand. Help me to release my white-knuckled clutch that I have on my temporary things. And most of all, oh God, help me to have my joy found in nothing other than You, and the salvation I have in Your Son, Jesus Christ!

“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 neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – Jesus, in Matthew 6:19-21

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