Recently, my wife and I visited the gardens of Ripponlea – a mansion in Melbourne, AUSTRALIA, that was built over 120 years ago. The fourteen acres of gardens were amazing, and the house had many luxurious and spacious rooms, including an enormous master bedroom. We also looked at the extensive kitchen and servant quarters – located underneath the house – where dozens of servants would have worked each day.
Interestingly, the whole house was designed around these unseen quarters because special hallways and rooms needed to be positioned to allow the servants to go about their duties without being seen. The idea was for them to be able to move around without disturbing the owners and their visitors, apart from serving at mealtimes and parties. It was as if the wealthy owners wanted to create the illusion of a perfect place where everything happened automatically and every need was met, as if by magic. It is ironic that their idyllic lifestyle was so dependent on theses hidden servants – people who had to leave ‘struggle street’ every day, to work in an oasis of opulence. I am sure the servants appreciated the opportunity to have a steady and reliable income yet, it must have been strange to live in two such contrasting worlds
The families that lived at Ripponlea, have disappeared into history, but their photographs and their stories remain for us to see. Life at the beautiful mansion was idyllic and like an oasis in the desert, but they too had to face tragedy and death – like we all do. Even the house itself –which is slowly breaking down despite the best efforts of the National Trust – will turn to dust one day.
We are all going to die, and we are all going to stand before God to give an account, but God won’t be asking for a list of our assets or the size of our bank balance. None of us can take our money and possessions into the next life, but we can lay up treasure in heaven, by using what we have to serve Him, and make a difference while we are still here.
Jesus said, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon the earth, where moth and rust can destroy it or thieves can steal it. Rather lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven where neither moth or rust can destroy or thieves steal; FOR WHERE YOUR TREASURE IS, THERE WILL YOUR HEART BE ALSO…No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other or he will hold to one and despise the other. YOU CANNOT SERVE BOTH GOD AND MONEY.” Matthew 6:19-21, 24
JESUS is far more interested in the condition of your heart, and whether you are willing to believe, and accept His invitation to “Follow Me”. Mark Trodd[email protected]