It is all well and good to say that things are not important—that things really don’t matter. There is a minimalist movement afoot where people are simplifying life by getting rid of all extraneous stuff and moving into tiny 200 sq. ft. homes on wheels. I don’t know how serious these people are or whether this is just a short-term fad or phase. Perhaps they feel superior or even spiritual giving up the trappings of ordinary life. Fact is, I have been a minimalist all my life. Actually, I was just poor, but minimalist sounds better.
It is my guess that even these people, who are leaving everything behind, have tucked away some very special things they cannot part with—things that are important, even precious to them.
Yesterday I got rid of a lot of stuff. Almost a year ago now my sister moved into an Adult Care Facility. Before leaving her much loved home of more than forty-five years, she showed me the things she wanted to take with her. There was, of course, her bed, the lovely dresser and nightstand, a Tiffany lamp, the rose painted wall clock, the television, some paintings and a few decorative objects to adorn her room.
She stood before the sofa looking at the beautiful, beveled mirror on the wall. “I wish I could take that,” she said wistfully.
I followed her into the kitchen. She had removed her Christmas dishes and china from the hutch. They were stacked on the counters, the table and even in the floor. In bewilderment, she stretched out her arms and said, “I have these.”
The responsibility for clearing out, cleaning up, throwing away, selling and boxing up my sister’s entire life fell to me. I was able to dispense with most of her furniture, but her kitchen stuff, linens, and smaller decorative items, I carefully wrapped and packed in cartons. Somehow I had no stamina or heart for a sale, so my sister’s stuff has been stacked in my garage.
Yesterday some friends carried away most of the cartons for the church rummage sale that raises money for missions.
In the end, I couldn’t give them everything. I kept the Christmas dishes and China, the quilt Mama made, and the box labeled “pretty fragile things.” June will never use them again, and I don’t need them. But—just in case she asks again, “Where is my stuff?” I will be able to say, “I am keeping it safe for you at my house.”
One of my most precious possessions is a small transparent glass dog. I have had it for more than seventy-five years. Daddy brought it to me when he returned from a preaching trip. It was filled with tiny, multicolored candies. I flew to the door when I saw him coming up the walk. I looked up at him through the screen, and he said, “O, I needed to see you.”
I have discovered something about precious things. It is not necessarily the thing that is so precious. Rather, it is the memory elicited by that thing that holds firm your heart and enriches relationship.
I have a box of my Mama’s precious things—the head of her china doll, grandpa’s mustache mug, and small shoe last, and a hand tatted baby dress. I can imagine Mama, as a child, playing with that fragile china doll, grandpa drinking his coffee from the mustache mug, and forming a small pair of shoes in his cobbler’s shop, and my eighteen-year-old pregnant Mother tatting a baby dress in anticipation of the child she carried.
While I am defending the importance of certain things, there is a still small voice within that cautions me to hold loosely the things I possess. Many assume that achieving the American dream is defined in the possession of things. They are so ardent in their pursuit that they become possessed by their possessions.
Possessions and the acquisition of them must never become more important than my relationship with God and man. Possessions must never replace my passion for God and His work. Possessions must never obscure my view of heaven.
In 1 Corinthians 7:29-31, the Apostle Paul tells us, “…the time is short…” and “…those who buy should be as though they do not possess…for the fashion of this world (the way of this world) is passing away.”
Matthew 6:19-21 says “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.”
Earthly treasures are temporary. They are passing away while your genuine love for God and your selfless service to Him flow into your account in heaven. You are laying up treasures far more valuable than anything you now possess.
REMEMBER, THE SUN WILL COME OUT TOMORROW!