Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘treasures in heaven’

I must admit I like to find a bargain when out shopping. Perhaps it is the way I was brought up to be careful with money that is to blame. Or perhaps I am just a bit of a miser at heart—who knows? Whatever the reason, I can feel quite gleeful when I realise how much I have saved via those specials at the supermarket. And I am not above poking my nose into second-hand shops or ends-of-line clothing stores either!

Recently, I found IMG_20170908_102150034_HDRmyself in bargain hunters’ paradise, after volunteering to help set out items donated for the ‘white elephant’ stall at a Spring Fair. As we unpacked all sorts of interesting pieces of merchandise people no longer wanted and tried to find a spot for them on tables already grossly overflowing, I could not help but shake my head at it all. How could people give this good stuff away? Wouldn’t they miss such lovely and such useful things?

The next day at the fair itself, I soon became caught up in the whirl of excitement, as I hunted through all those bargains on offer. There were so many quality items at rock-bottom prices. I found some things I felt I needed for our kitchen and a picture or two for our walls and some very cheap gift wrapping and … On it went. I had such fun!

I took my precious purchases home, but later went back to see what was still on offer. And as I strolled around, this time in a quieter frame of mind and less bent on acquiring this and that, I began to realise what a wealthy country we live in. No, not all of us have money to spare. But, on the whole, we are well off. If we as a society can throw away so many ‘white elephants’—not only household items and other odds and ends but also an absolute mound of books—then we do not live in the poorest country in the world. At least all the recycling and finding of new owners I could see happening around me that I too had benefited from was a much better outcome than simply wasting these items and sending them to landfill.

As I looked around at all this offloading of possessions and buying and selling, however, I looked within myself as well. How easily I can get into an acquiring mode, thinking I need this and that! Yet what had I heard at church recently and read in Scripture about living in a humble and contented manner?

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 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. Matthew 6:19-21

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 1 Timothy 6:6-8

Will I be content with that? These words, along with all those white elephants I saw, have given me much to think about.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Jo 23One morning it was there. By night time, it was gone. We had been warned this was about to happen, but it was still a shock. How could they do such a thing?

For around thirty years, we had become used to the sight of the neat, red-brick home opposite our house. Several years ago, the quiet, elderly lady who owned it passed away and the house was sold. Then one day last year, the new owners told us they now planned to demolish the house and build a new two storey one in its place.

Last week, the wire fences went up around that old red-brick house. Soon the brick veneer and building material containing asbestos were carefully removed, leaving the bones of the old house exposed for all to see. A huge excavator took up residence in the front yard and sat there idle for a few days.

Finally, early one morning, trucks began arriving and that excavator went into action in a big way. By night time, that old home was levelled. The following day, more and more trucks arrived to take away the debris—and now nothing remains of what was once such a comfortable, old home.

I watched all this happen with some sadness. I understand the owners need a bigger house, now that they have three small children. But to me it seemed that with every brick that was removed from that old home, part of the life of the elderly lady who used to live there went with it. I remember her gentle husband as well and how they seemed so devoted to each other. They had no children, they told us once—they would leave the home to a disabled nephew to provide for his future care. Yet now, all trace of this lovely couple has been obliterated.

As well as bringing some sadness, however, this event also served as a sober reminder to me that one day, those material things we cling to so tightly in this world will all disappear. In the end, whatever house we live in, whether it be a mansion or a tumbledown shack, will crumble and disappear. And who can tell what will happen to any of the other material possessions we leave behind?

Even as I was thinking about this, I began reading the next psalm I was up to in my bible. Imagine my surprise when I came to verses 4-6 of Psalm 39:

Show me, O Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Each man’s life is but a breath. Man is a mere phantom as he goes to and fro: He bustles about, but only in vain; he heaps up wealth, not knowing who will get it.

I don’t really care what happens to our little house after we are gone. But I do care whether the things I am pouring my energies into right now will make an impact that will last for eternity. I want my treasure to be in heaven, where it cannot be destroyed, rather than here where those excavators can demolish it in a day.

How about you? How long will your treasure last? Are you building for heaven or for here?

Read Full Post »

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

Read Full Post »