Storing Up the Treasures of Race

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart is also.”

~ Matthew 6.19-21, NRSV

You can’t take it with you. The treasures that we collect, insure and protect cannot be packed into our coffins or travel with us beyond the grave. It matters not the number of years that we have had them in our possession or how long they have been in our family.  It is inconsequential the amount of the insurance policy or the means by which they are stored.  These things that we have given our hearts to are treasures of the earth and thus, able to be destroyed or stolen because they are temporal and vulnerable.  Unfortunately, our love for them, our desire to keep them is not enough to save them from either fate.

More importantly, Jesus is able to determine the location of our heart, whether on earth or in heaven, based on what we treasure. So, where is your heart when it comes to race and its social privileges?  Do you treasure it? Do you believe that it is protected by moth, rust and theft?  Do you believe that race is a treasure of heaven?

Do you think it possible to store up the treasures of race?  While we can pass these privileges on to our children while on earth, the treasures of social power, position and beauty, these prizes are not awarded according to the standards of the Christian faith.  No, God does not treasure race and will not judge us according to its flunctuating standards.  As believers, we will receive a crown of righteousness and this standing with God has nothing to do with the social coloring of skin or the treasures ascribed to it (II Timothy 4.8).  We will receive a crown of life and of glory because of our faithfulness not due to our physical features (James 1.12; I Peter 5.4).

Many American Christians believe that this social construct with its social rewards can be transferred to the grave and that race is something that will be treasured in heaven.  But, much of what we treasure on earth is useless in heaven.  The treasures of race have no purpose in death as we do not grieve the loss of her or his social coloring or its standing in society at the passing of a loved one.  The privileges of race are not included in a will, to be fought over or coveted.  Likewise, these treasures have no purpose in heaven as Christ will only be judging between sheep and goats (Matthew 25.33).  So, why not give them away or better yet, give them up.  Let’s begin to put value on the treasures of heaven and these begin to store up.

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