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Posts Tagged ‘Matthew 6:20-21’

I don’t regard myself as a hoarder at all. In the earlier years of our marriage, we moved several times and were careful with each move to throw out things we felt we didn’t need to hold onto. Then when we finally bought our own home, we had to pare things down even more, since we had three children to fit into a very small house.

Now, thirty years on, we still live in that same house, although the children have moved out. Yet I continue to be careful not to hold onto unnecessary clutter. After all, we have to make room now for such items as strollers and car seats for the grandchildren! But what of all those books everywhere? And what of that chest of drawers in our bedroom, bulging with a crazy mix of old jewellery, overseas coins, school and music certificates, cards with precious greetings or encouraging words inside them, grandchildren’s drawings and other intriguing objects?

Recently, I lent more of those precious books on my shelves to some friends. Yes, I do keep a record of such things, but in the process of adding to this list, I noticed some books have been out there for quite a while. Then I remembered one from past years that has long gone, never to return. It was quite expensive—and I began to feel a little resentful. How dare someone lose track of something that is mine? I loved that book. I want it back! But then I began to laugh at myself. I know the person to whom I lent it well and respect him. I would gladly give him the monetary value of that book any time. So why am I so bothered by losing something that is just a thing, after all?

But last week, I faced an even bigger test. Having cleaned out one of those bedroom drawers, I decided to sell two old brooches I discovered there that I think belonged to my grandmother. I knew no family members wanted them and I myself had never worn them. I headed to an antiques dealer—somehow that seemed more palatable than selling the items for their gold value alone, which I knew was not high. The dealer named his price, but when it came to the crunch, I found myself reluctant to part with one brooch in particular. Something in its pretty design reminded me of my grandmother, whom I loved very much.

I went away and thought about it for a while, but then made up my mind. I still have wonderful memories of my grandmother. I can see her now, with her beautiful, wavy, white hair and gentle, loving ways. Yes, the brooch was pretty, but I don’t need it to remind me of her. After all, it’s just a thing—those memories are far more valuable and will never be lost or fade from my mind.

I loved my grandmother. And I love my books and my jewellery. But I know I need to hold onto them lightly—because there’s something, or rather, Someone I love even more. You know, when all is said and done, what Jesus said about the things we treasure is so true, don’t you think?

But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matt 6::20-21

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This week I developed a new appreciation for the humble waste paper basket.  For me it is currently one of life’s little luxuries, which, given time, I will no doubt take for granted once again.  But right now I am revelling in being able to lean back in my chair that is now positioned in front of my brand new IKEA desk and, with one deft swing, throw the discarded notes from my latest talk straight into the waste paper basket under said desk.  It is a luxury to me because, for seven years, I have not had a desk of my own.  I have learnt to be quite ‘portable’, moving my laptop and various other bits and pieces from the end of the kitchen table to a fold-up card table wherever I can find a quiet spot in the house and then back again, according to who is around and what is happening in our family at any strategic point in time.  I have written five novels in this mode.  But now everything’s changed.  Now I have my own quite large desk, where I can pile up all my paraphernalia and LEAVE IT THERE, in a corner of my daughter’s old bedroom.  I can simply reach out and pick up the various resources I use often in writing and preparing talks, instead of having to get up and hunt for them somewhere else in the house.  I can swivel around in my chair and (almost) reach books on my brand new bookshelves nearby.  And I can definitely throw my discarded pearls of wisdom in the bin beneath my desk, without having to make yet another trip to the kitchen bin.  Yes, my waste paper basket is to me a symbol of my new-found freedom – a sign that I have definitely come up in the world.

All of this buying and assembling and reorganising of furniture in our house has made me think, however.  We live in a very small house.  We don’t earn much – in fact, very little, at this stage of our lives.  But truly we have been given a lot of luxuries that I at least so easily take for granted.  How would it be if, for a change, I thanked God for all the things I do have, instead of complaining about what I don’t have?  How would that change me and make life happier for those around me as well?

And while I’m at it, perhaps I should remember that even though my new writing space and its contents are all wonderful luxuries to me, they are just material things and won’t last forever.  After all, my real treasure’s in heaven, as Jesus told his disciples:

Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:20-21)

So yes, I’m planning to enjoy my new desk and bookshelves – and waste paper basket!  I’ll be thankful for them often, but I’ll try to hold onto them lightly too.

How about you?  Where’s your treasure?

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