One Man’s Treasure is still Trash!
I know the pithy saying says that one’s man’s trash is another man’s treasure, but sometimes it is just trash!
Over one billion people on the planet live on a dollar a day and over two billion live on two dollars a day and some people spend an obscene amount of money to buy houses big enough to store stuff! I am not trying to imply that the family members I love have too much stuff (that would be the pot calling the kettle black), but I am trying to figure out how to let some stuff go and travel more lightly. This is tough stuff to process and I am just going to ramble along for a bit…
Recently I had the privilege of helping a friend clean out some of her parent’s things since they were going to move to a care facility. And again the past 2 weekends have been similar experiences since some life changes have faced members of my own family extended. BUT, After spending last weekend working on sorting and cleaning and packing some of my aunt’s stuff, cleaning the science projects out of the fridge, the bug collection and antique crackers out of the pantry, followed by this weekend helping my brother in law sort though his storage unit and gather his treasures, I am feeling guilty about all my stuff yet too exhausted to do anything about it!
I know we are to store up treasures in heaven and this is a very visual reminder to me of how things can be rotted, stolen, or destroyed. And, that is not even chasing the rabbit trail of how stuff can “steal” our joy, waste our time, and distract our money from the work of the kingdom.
I am reminded of the joke that circulated the internet a few years ago:
There once was a rich man who was near death. He was very grieved because he had worked so hard for his money and wanted to be able to take it with him to heaven. So he began to pray that he might be able to take some of his wealth with him.An angel heard his plea and appeared to him. “Sorry, but you can’t take your wealth with you.”
The man begged the angel to speak to God to see if He might bend the rules. The man continued to pray that his wealth could follow him. The angel reappeared and informed the man that God had decided to allow him to take one suitcase with him. Overjoyed, the man gathered his largest suitcase and filled it with pure gold bars and placed it beside his bed.Soon afterward, he died and showed up at the gates of heaven to greet St. Peter.
St. Peter, seeing the suitcase, said, “Hold on, you can’t bring that in here!”
The man explained to St. Peter that he had permission and asked him to verify his story with the Lord.
Sure enough, St. Peter checked it out, came back and said, “You’re right. You are allowed one carry-on bag, but I’m supposed to check its contents before letting it through.”
St. Peter opened the suitcase to inspect the worldly items that the man found too precious to leave behind and exclaimed, “You brought pavement?”
So I ponder the question, Where is my treasure? What do I value the most? Would anyone know it by my lifestyle? Because Jesus said that where your treasure is that is where your heart will be. I know God is generous and gives good gifts to his children. I believe He is not against us having stuff, but he is concerned, as with everything, about our attitude, our character development, about what we have.
A pastor friend tells a story of a little boy swimming in a river, flailing around and splashing his arms, splattering the water. On the shore immediately in front of the little boy is a sign, “No Swimming”. And the man walks along and he looks into the river and he says, “Hey kid, can’t you read the sign? It says no swimming.” The boy replies, “please sir, I’m not swimming! I’m drowning!” Sometimes swimming and drowning look a lot alike, don’t they? And I think sometimes that people I love, myself included, think we are swimming but are really drowning. If I am going to drown, I want it to be under the cleansing blood of grace.
There was a time in my life when I felt nothing but discarded; buried and covered in a pile of sin and despair. But God sought me out and found me, lifted me out of the pile, lovingly washed and cleansed me, took me home with Him to be His very own, and gave me a new, wonderful purpose; all through His Son, Jesus Christ. Once the world’s trash …now God’s Treasure.