Don’t let the car fool you…

Last week I was driving home from work when I saw a Lexus RX 350 (MSRP: $38,800 and up) with a bumper sticker that read: “Don’t let the car fool you, my real treasure is in Heaven.”

The amount of doublethink required to put that kind of bumper sticker on that kind of car is unfathomable to me, but it seems to be pretty common, as a simple googling of the phrase “don’t let the car fool you” will demonstrate (and it should be noted that the above photo is from a random flickr account). The verses being referenced are Matthew 6:19-21, which read as follows: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (NKJV)

Now, if a forty thousand dollar car doesn’t fall under the category of ‘treasure’, I don’t really know what would. And referencing this statement of Jesus’ – of all the things he said – on an earthly treasure requires either total ignorance (not to say stupidity) or self-righteous arrogance. To make things worse, it’s only a few verses later that Jesus says that thing about serving two masters – God and money – and how it can’t be done.

I had mostly forgotten about the whole thing – it’s so typical of mainstream American Christianity as to be unremarkable – when I saw the same bumper sticker today on an old, beat up Isuzu pickup, with a mower in the bed and the number of the driver’s landscaping business on the rear window. I thought, on first seeing it, that it was an appropriate vehicle for such a sticker – not a treasure, but a tool. It’s still a weird thing to put on a car, though. Why broadcast the fact that you’re storing up treasure in heaven at all? One last verse, Matthew 6:2: “When you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.”

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