Trenches and Treasures

April 19, 2014

One night I dreamed I was one of the characters from my trilogy, except she and her brother were not involved in a science-fiction war in another world, but rather a small pocket of conflict in some middle-eastern country. The characters were with a group of rebels who had built trench works at the top of a desert cliff, fortified with wooden roofs. Their enemies – a terrorist regime of some kind – were in a fortress nearby, and it was clear that soon they would crush this rebellion and kill everyone involved.

My character had a nook of the trenches all to herself, and she was using it to stockpile a meager collection of candy and trinkets from the outside world. At one point her brother confronted her about the danger she was putting herself in by going outside the earthworks to gather these things. She broke down, clutching at the niceties, and sobbed because soon all her treats and baubles would be destroyed by the terrorists. Never mind that they were all going to die soon – never mind that her collection was of stupid, silly things at any time, not to mention in a war zone!

(I must insist here that the character is nothing like this in my real story!)

When I awoke, it occurred to me that this dream tied in perfectly with some of my recent musings about spiritual warfare. When I cling to creature comforts, covet worldly goods, or otherwise treasure up earthly things that are perishing, I am being just as pathetic as that character crying over candy and costume jewelry while she sits in the earthworks waiting to die. She knew full well what joining this rebellion meant, but instead of putting effort into their cause, she spent all her time heaping up any cheap junk that tickled her fancy. She was faced with physical death, but the destruction of her old way of life was more upsetting to her.

The more I have thought about this dream the more convicted I am. We read “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth” (Matthew 6:19a) and we tend to think of gold, jewels, moolah, yeah yeah, don’t be greedy and don’t focus on accumulating hoards of money and “stuff”…I get it. Right?

But the more I think about being a soldier for Christ, and living heavenward, “earthly treasures” grows broader as a category. Sure, it can mean money, treasure in a literal sense, but I could also apply it to idols like comfort, pleasure, or admiration.

TV show binges. Extra time lounging because I didn’t feel like doing housework. Lots of likes on Facebook. Yet another serving of bad-for-you food so I can taste that deliciousness again. Aimless hours of browsing on Pinterest. Nods of approval or other people’s affirmation that I look good, act right, or said something worth hearing.

I’m not saying Pinterest is evil or that it’s not okay to watch TV or relax a little or enjoy some dessert – being a good steward of our resources includes recognizing that our bodies (and minds) need rest and pleasure sometimes! This is honoring to God too. And of course it’s encouraging to know other people like and care about us. But where is our treasure? What cause are we fighting for? Am I diligently serving King Jesus during my “deployment” in this life, or am I wasting time and resources with frivolities?  (Those are “military resources”, after all, because I’m in the Lord’s army!)  Where am I investing my minutes, my hopes, my life?

“For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” – 1 John 2:16-17

I am trying not to gloss over what God is teaching me here. It was simply a bizarre, adventuresome dream, but combined with my musings it packed a powerful punch of conviction. I want to remember that I am in the trenches, and turn my eyes and efforts toward what is important, the things that will have lasting value if the enemies come for my head.

One comment

  1. It is very hard at times to remember that a good and lawful thing that was created by God for our enjoyment can quickly become an idol in just a blink of an eye! Though we have forgiveness of our sin and the promises of God 1John 1:9 if we confess our sins, He is faithful to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. That is such a great promise! If you are in battle with your sin (no matter what sin) we have a promise from God not only for forgiveness but to be cleansed from it. (:

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