The Swedish crown jewels have been stolen! In a dastardly irreverent manner, the suspects entered into the Strängnäs Cathedral near Stockholm around lunch time. They came running out and jumped into a waiting speed boat to make their getaway. They made off with two crowns and a golden orb that was part of the funeral regalia of Swedish monarchs Karl IX and Kristina from the early 17th century. Christofer Lundgren, dean of the Strängnäs parish, said, “From our point of view, the material value is less important than the cultural history of these items. I do not see this as a theft from Strängnäs Cathedral assembly. This is part of the national cultural heritage. This is a theft of Swedish society.”
This event made me think of one of the passages from the Sermon on the Mount. “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” (Matt. 6:19-21). The danger in having treasure or earthly wealth is not that it could possibly be stolen. The danger lies in the influence it would have on your heart. This is what happened to the man in the parable that Jesus told in the context of a dispute over family inheritance. The man was blessed by God, and instead of sharing his blessing, he stored it all up. “And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’ So is the man who stores up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:19-21). We must be careful that we are not guilty of the same.
It is so easy for this attitude to creep up on us. There is a certain feeling of comfort in knowing that you will never lack in anything because of the wealth that has been amassed. While we may have prepared for our physical needs, we may be putting our spiritual needs at risk. There is danger in the drive that puts God aside for gain or relies on possessions for contentment.
It is not inherently wrong to have money and earthly possessions. However, it must be something that is kept in perspective of a great spiritual importance. Our possessions must never come between our relationship with God or our brothers and sisters in Christ. Likewise, the wealth of others should not hinder our relationships. From our point of view, earthly wealth pales in comparison to the glory we will receive in heaven with our Lord (Matt. 16:26; Heb. 11:16).