I will start off being very honest with you. I often go to other people's homes and wind up feeling very jealous that mine doesn't look as nicely decorated as theirs. I definitely wouldn't claim to have the best taste in decorating. Sure I could hire someone to do it, but most of the reason my house isn't decked out to begin with is because we don't have the money. Actually, let me retract that last statement. We do have the money. We just don't choose to budget all of it towards things that will soon be sold at a garage sale because they've gone out of style or things that my children will donate to Goodwill after we have passed away.
"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." ~Matthew 6:19-21
God has been working SO much on my heart lately and giving me eyes to see things with an eternal perspective. I am not at all saying that it is wrong to decorate your house or to make it look nice. Ultimately, however you spend your money is between you and the Lord. And I am even shopping for some shelves and various other home accessories this week. I'm just writing to testify to His joy being made complete in my heart because of our obedience to Him (John 15:11) through giving these past several months & even years. And I am not referring to traditional tithing. I am referring to giving above and beyond because we want people to know the love of Jesus Christ.
I was reading in Charles Spurgeon's Morning and Evening devotional about how often the people who neglect to give to God's work are the same people that end up struggling to provide for themselves. It just got me thinking about how my own sin of jealousy or coveting has me placing more value on things that will one day collect dust and be destroyed. God placed a thought in my head. "Lauren, what is your heavenly home going to look like one day? Will it be decorated with pictures of people who you shared the gospel with, people who accepted Christ because of your testimony, or people who received a love offering that you poured out to me on their behalf? So who cares so much what your earthly home looks like because it is your heavenly home that you will live in for eternity?"
God has been pouring out opporunities to minister to NICU families. We have been doing our monthly gifts as usual and one of the families wrote us an e-mail in return. They thanked us for our generosity and wrote that in all of their years of volunteering and community service they had never seen such a kind gesture, especially coming from a stranger. It may have come from a human stranger, but Jesus Christ intimately knows their needs and we are simply being His hands and feet. Not for our glory, but His. We have also had the precious opportunities to give gifts to two other families that are complete strangers. They are precious friends of people in our bible fellowship class. Do you know how excited I get when I get the opportunity to go drop a large chunk of money on people I don't even know?!? George and I give without expecting anything in return from these families and we love it! We are even looking at starting a NICU support group in the Brandon area to continue our ministry to these families. It's scary with a capital S, but I cannot tell you the excitement (really it's the Holy Spirit) that wells up inside of me when I think about the chance to share the love and hope of Jesus Christ with these families.
Those are the kinds of treasures that I want to decorate my eternal home with. And if you are reading this and you aren't sure if you even have an eternal home...you do. It's in one of two places: heaven or hell. We all deserve hell because "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." The only way to heaven is through Jesus Christ. (John 14:6) For those who "...confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved."
And if you are wondering whether giving your life to Christ is really worth it. Let me tell you from 10+years of experience that it is. Better is one day in His courts than a thousand elsewhere. (Psalm 84:10)