Did you know that some houses have a “Costco room?” I didn’t either, until I browsed through the Homes section of my local newspaper last weekend. I read the following description of a home for sale in my town: “A beautiful brick fireplace, a large Costco room and a huge, 4-foot concrete crawl for storage.” Costco room? Apparently it is a pantry-type space for the stashing of Coscto sized quantities of stuff. Lacking a Costco room in my house, I’ll have to settle for a few “Costco corners.”
I find the “Costco room” tag amusing and cleverly descriptive. Did the Costco marketing department plant that name in the vocabulary of realtors? Have corporations bought up naming rights to enough public facilities that they’ve moved on to naming rooms in private homes? What does this say about our consumeristic culture?
Rhetorical questions aside, let’s have some fun with this. How about Crate and Barrell rooms (a.k.a. kitchens) or Nordstrom rooms (a.k.a closets) or Home Depot rooms (a.k.a. garages)? Our study is an Amazon.com room. The basement is the Ikea/Best Buy room. What would you name the rooms in your house?
On a more thoughtful level, a Costco room reminds me of a parable Jesus once told about the ultimate value of our possessions. Jesus described a prosperous man pondering what to do with an abundant harvest. He didn’t have room for it all. “I’ve got it,” the man thought to himself, “I’ll build a bigger barn, store provision for the future, and then I’ll eat, drink and be merry for years to come!” Jesus called him a fool, for his earthly future would expire that very night. “Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.” (Luke 12:21)
The point of the parable is not that prosperity or barns or Costco rooms are bad. They are not wrong; they are just ultimately useless. The message of Jesus’ story is that the man was eternally bankrupt. C. S. Lewis, who always seems to get to the heart of things, put it this way, “Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither.”
In these days of economic uncertainty, falling home values and rising inflation it is understandable to focus on building up reserves for the future. That is reasonable and wise. The challenge for us is to take appropriate measures on earth while keeping an eye on heaven. It’s comforting to me that after Jesus told this parable, he encouraged his disciples not to worry about tomorrow. I guess Jesus knows we tend to get anxious, so he assures us that our ultimate security is not in our storehouses or Costco rooms, but in the loving provision of our heavenly Father. His treasures are endless and eternal.
“So don’t be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to those in need. This will store up treasure for you in heaven! And the purses of heaven never get old or develop holes. Your treasure will be safe; no thief can steal it and no moth can destroy it. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” Luke 12:32-34