My son, J, rides to The Second City everyday for classes up Wells Street in Chicago and has parked and locked his trusty TREK bike each and every day of camp. Until yesterday.

Tragic news for us. The Bike Was Stolen.

That bike was his transportation. Heck, it might even be his lifeline. He is fifteen. He uses it to go back and forth to work and to his friends’ homes when we are at home downstate.

What do we do? Do we bother even telling the police here? Were there security cameras–not that it would really matter. I have heard there is no positive response when people tell the police here in Chicago…they have bigger fish to fry than catching bike burglars right now.

He has been searching for his bike everywhere he goes, every person who passes on a bike gets the once over for now. He lost something really important to him. Back home, he’s kind of “known” for riding his bike everywhere.

How many of us have lost something that was really dear to us? Or maybe, like J, it was stolen from you? There is really precious few things in this world that are guaranteed to be ours for eternity. And it is not our possessions, our health, our wealth, or even our relationships.

The Bible speaks to this and it’s when Jesus is up on a mountain–it’s actually more of a big hill–giving a talk to the people who were following Him at the time:

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin 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, NIV)

Where is this treasure Jesus is talking about here? What is it that insects and rodents can’t destroy? What could possibly be safe from thieves–we can’t even assume our outward or online “identity” is safe these days!

The Bible Commentaries all speak clearly on this. 1. We shouldn’t strive for wealth. 2. We shouldn’t obsess with food and clothing.

Just a little further along in this sermon, Jesus talks about money (He talked about money A LOT!) and how it tends to become the master of a person. It’s okay to be wealthy–it needs to be stated that it is not a sin to create wealth. He just makes it clear that if that is your treasure and where you place your trust, you can’t serve two masters.

And here’s the deal about the clothing back in Jesus’ day. For the wealthy, robes and garments covered in gold and silver were an outward show of wealth. They “delighted much in display, in splendid equipage, and costly garments, their treasures, in fact, consisted much in beautiful and richly-ornamented articles of apparel.” (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible)

So I don’t have to feel so convicted about my $7 thrift store find. Unless, of course, my clothes are where I consider my treasure to be. (And remember, moths and weevils are going to eat that cute outfit some day!)

Our sole treasure on this earth should be our intimate, personal relationship with Jesus. It’s the only thing that can’t be stolen; it’s the only thing that won’t decay in the context of forever. It’s more precious than anything you can name and is the best gift you can offer someone else. It is the only thing that truly lasts.

Although TREK is a pretty amazing bike and the one that was stolen has lasted our family seventeen years, it’s been pretty beat up. With all the scratches it has, it will rust. The rims on it were getting bent and destroyed and needed to be replaced. The tires were wearing out again. I imagine it will eventually be sold for scrap metal or put in a dumpster.

So, for now, J’ll now be walking to class. That kinda stinks. But I’ll remind him how when we were kids we had to walk to school in snowstorms with drifts “up to here” (*insert horizontal hand at chest) and all he has to do is stroll down Wells Street in good weather.

Maybe he can talk one of the downtown horse and carriages into giving him a lift?