We’d spent a serious chunk of our latest paychecks on the chest of drawers arriving that day. Steve was still at work when it arrived, but the delivery team graciously positioned it against the bedroom wall for me. After they left, I set about unboxing it, eager to have it looking its best when my husband arrived home.
I’m still not sure what I was thinking as I attacked the cardboard with a small and inadequate serrated knife. Somehow, I removed the box, but in the process managed to put several scratches on the lower left side of the until-then-perfect finish. I was aghast, nauseous and in tears. I’m sure Steve was gracious about it upon his return. I am fortunate to have that sort of man. What good would any other reaction have done anyway? After thirty-plus years of furniture polish, no one could ever find those scratches now. At the time, though, it seemed like an earth-shattering crime to have marred that chest of drawers.
They’d spent a serious chunk of their last several paychecks on that first new car. Davy and Sheldon Vanauken surveyed the as-yet-still-perfect finish. And then, grasping the hammer together, they took a swing and made a dent. Why? So that nothing so unimportant as the shiny paint on an automobile would ever come between them. Neither of them would ever have to be the first to mar it. The intentional dent was symbolic. They would always be more important to each other than anything they owned.
“Stuff” is nearly always “the small stuff”. Cars, furniture, clothes, houses and other three dimensional objects often climb too high in our hierarchy of importance while God says, “Consider the lilies”.
Should we be industrious? Work hard? Yes, but only with Spirit-led balance.
Should we enjoy the stuff we have? Sure. All good gifts from our Father. Don’t we want our kids to enjoy what we give them?
But is there any room for worrying about getting, having and keeping “stuff”? No, there really isn’t.
People are so much more important than things. They’re the only part of this earth that can follow (or precede) us into heaven. And leading them to the Lord who loves us will last forever.
1 Corinthians 13 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)
Let Love Be Your Guide
13 I may speak in different languages, whether human or even of angels. But if I don’t have love, I am only a noisy bell or a ringing cymbal. 2 I may have the gift of prophecy, I may understand all secrets and know everything there is to know, and I may have faith so great that I can move mountains. But even with all this, if I don’t have love, I am nothing. 3 I may give away everything I have to help others, and I may even give my body as an offering to be burned. But I gain nothing by doing all this if I don’t have love.
4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous, it does not brag, and it is not proud. 5 Love is not rude, it is not selfish, and it cannot be made angry easily. Love does not remember wrongs done against it. 6 Love is never happy when others do wrong, but it is always happy with the truth. 7 Love never gives up on people. It never stops trusting, never loses hope, and never quits.
8 Love will never end. But all those gifts will come to an end—even the gift of prophecy, the gift of speaking in different kinds of languages, and the gift of knowledge. 9 These will all end because this knowledge and these prophecies we have are not complete. 10 But when perfection comes, the things that are not complete will end.
11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, and I made plans like a child. When I became a man, I stopped those childish ways. 12 It is the same with us. Now we see God as if we are looking at a reflection in a mirror. But then, in the future, we will see him right before our eyes. Now I know only a part, but at that time I will know fully, as God has known me. 13 So these three things continue: faith, hope, and love. And the greatest of these is love.
Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)
Copyright © 2006 by World Bible Translation Center