What’s In Your Barn?

The barn is the most versatile storehouse on a farmstead. Most are multi-leveled and multi-purpose. A neighbor in my childhood had a three level barn. The lower level housed the animals. The middle layer was used to thresh and store grain; later it became a kind of machine shed. The top layer was used to store hay and straw. Of course, not all barns are the same and some have very defined purposes. Whether it is a multi-purpose barn like my old neighbor or a modern machine shed, the main purpose is the same – to protect the farmer’s treasures.

Consider this observation by Jesus, “He said to them, “Therefore every teacher of the law who has been instructed about the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.”” (Matthew 13:52, NIV84) A teacher of the law or a scribe was schooled and taught the law of Moses and the prophets. Some must have picked up Jesus’ revolutionary teaching and begun to include it. What I’d like to key on is the last part.

What’s in your barn? We all have storehouses, places we keep our treasures. So, what’s in it? What are your treasures? For instance, we have a safety deposit box that stores our important papers and a small hard drive loaded with pictures. So you could say that memories are one of our treasures. But what about the storehouse of the heart, what things are stored there? We draw from the storehouse of the heart whenever we talk, react, and respond to others. And just like a barn, it can have prized animals, useful hay, and smelly manure. Sometimes we share the hay, sometimes we offer manure. Perhaps its time to take inventory and clean the barn.

The balance of old and new. When we talk about Jesus we bring treasures from our storehouse. You do talk about Jesus? We may not all be teachers but, we all teach. Sometimes we can focus so much on the past that all our treasures are antiques. The same old thing said the same old way. But, antiques have value; they show us where we have been and anchor us to the past. The other extreme is always striving for the latest and greatest. What’s new, what is in fashion, what’s the latest thing that I learned from scripture. The new has value in its freshness and relevance to now. The balance of course is to bring out both kinds of treasure. Bring out the old alongside the new. The old needs the new to keep our teaching fresh and relevant. The new needs the old to keep our teaching anchored and credible.

Bring out the treasure. I know there were times when my brother and I embarrassed mom and dad. Their friends would come over for a visit, and we would begin to parade our toy treasures in front of their eyes. The point is not the possible embarrassment but, our exuberance at showing off a new toy tractor or a freshly built model airplane. Or consider American Pickers, how often do they bring some rusty and dirty hunk of metal out of a barn to discover that it is something rare and valuable? So, its good to gain new insights into the scriptures and the Kingdom of Heaven. It is also good to rummage through our barn; find the forgotten treasures of our past, and clean out the manure. There is a unique joy when we share our treasures. So, share the treasures in the storehouse of your heart; just keep the manure to yourself, or better yet throw it out.

Dale Heinold
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