Are Things Just Things?

 

I’m from another time, another era, I’ve always known this. I’m attracted to the stories and company of the Greatest Generation. I grew up in a world of morality, gentility, and personal responsibility. I learned at the feet of those who lived with nothing and slowly climbed out. Things were not of utmost importance; character defined a person. I witnessed the frugality of saving and recycling aluminum foil, paper towels, and any other commodity that could be washed, dried, and reused. Recycling is not a new phenomenon by a long shot; Depression survivors knew how to stretch a quarter, material from a dress well-worn, and shoes well polished and cared for to last many more years. I am in awe of the determination and hard work necessary to rebuild enough capital to finally purchase pieces, heirlooms of the highest quality, as that was the only way products were made; from furniture, to automobiles, to tools, to things as functional as hot water heaters, creativity, craftsmanship, and yes, artistry their trademark. These industrious and grateful folk appreciated every single thing they were able to finally buy to ease their overworked, underpaid lives. These amazing individuals did not parlay  money or their talents to impress others, but to provide for themselves and their children a better life.

I am wasteful; I have lived a privileged life in comparison. I am part of the generation that stood on the backs of our predecessors; but I am the last of the generations that truly value and treasure the past. Older than my years, I seek to preserve that which my family worked so hard to achieve. I am more than willing to give up those few items I have to provide a showcase representing a lifestyle I so admire.

Having more is not the goal here, honoring my family an endeavor worthy of my time and energies.

Dear Lord, Your Word says:

“Stop storing up treasures for yourselves on earth, where moths and rust destroy and thieves break in and steal. Instead, store up treasures for yourselves in heaven, where moths and rust don’t destroy and thieves don’t break in and steal. Your heart will be where your treasure is.”  Matthew 6:19-21   God’s Word Translation

Am I missing the point? This verse from the Bible frequently enters my mind; it has to be You, Dear Lord, that press emphasis upon this Your Word. It is a verse with which I struggle. Am I so wrong? Forgive me, but in the Old Testament, whole passages, chapters, and books are devoted to the description of gold, silver, and precious gems that adorn not only the temple, but the armor of the priests as well. This is confusing to me; again forgive me. You seem to place value on earthly treasures not just created, but artistically made and extravagantly adorned. What am I to take away from seemingly opposite instructions? 

King David spoke to all the Israelites who were gathered. He said, “God chose my son Solomon. Solomon is young and hasn’t yet learned what he needs to know. But the work is important. This palace is not for people. It is for the Lord God. I have done my best to prepare for building the Temple of God. I have given gold for the things made of gold. I have given silver for the things made of silver. I have given bronze for the things made of bronze. I have given iron for the things made of iron. I have given wood for the things made of wood. I have given onyx for the settings and turquoise. I have given gems of many different colors. I have given valuable stones and white marble. I have given much of all these things. I have already given this for the Temple. But now I am also giving my own treasures of gold and silver. I am doing this because I really want the Temple of my God to be built.  1 Chronicles 29:1-3  International Children’s Bible

King David was also overjoyed, and he praised the Lord while the whole assembly watched. David said,

“May you be praised, Lord God of Israel,
    our father forever and ever.
Greatness, power, splendor, glory, and majesty are yours,Lord,
    because everything in heaven and on earth is yours.
        The kingdom is yours, Lord,
            and you are honored as head of all things.
                 Riches and honor are in front of you.
        You rule everything.
            You hold power and strength in your hands,
                and you can make anyone great and strong.

“Our God, we thank you
    and praise your wonderful name.
         But who am I and who are my people
            that you enable us to give so generously?
        Everything comes from you.
            We give you only what has come from your hands.
         To you we are all like our ancestors—
            foreigners without permanent homes.
                Our days are as fleeting as shadows on the ground.  1 Chronicles 29:10-15  International Children’s Bible

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his great power. Wear the full armor of God. Wear God’s armor so that you can fight against the devil’s evil tricks. Our fight is not against people on earth. We are fighting against the rulers and authorities and the powers of this world’s darkness. We are fighting against the spiritual powers of evil in the heavenly world. That is why you need to get God’s full armor. Then on the day of evil you will be able to stand strong. And when you have finished the whole fight, you will still be standing. So stand strong, with the belt of truth tied around your waist. And on your chest wear the protection of right living. And on your feet wear the Good News of peace to help you stand strong. And also use the shield of faith. With that you can stop all the burning arrows of the Evil One. Accept God’s salvation to be your helmet. And take the sword of the Spirit—that sword is the teaching of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times. Pray with all kinds of prayers, and ask for everything you need. To do this you must always be ready. Never give up. Always pray for all God’s people.” Ephesians 6:-18  International Children’s Bible

“Make a chest covering to help in making decisions. The craftsmen should make it as they made the holy vest. They must use gold and blue, purple and red thread, and fine linen. The chest covering must be square. It should be nine inches long and nine inches wide. Fold it double to make a pocket. Put four rows of beautiful gems on the chest covering. The first row of jewels must have a ruby, topaz and yellow quartz. The second row must have turquoise, a sapphire and an emerald. The third row must have a jacinth, an agate and an amethyst. The fourth row must have a chrysolite, an onyx and a jasper. Put gold around these jewels to attach them to the chest covering. There must be 12 jewels on the chest covering. That is one jewel for each of the names of the sons of Israel. Carve the name of one of the twelve tribes on each of the stones. Carve them as you would carve a seal.”  Exodus 28:15-21  International Children’s Bible

All right, I hear you saying there is a difference between storing up treasures and utilizing them for a particular purpose. I am filling in the blanks here; so often I wished my parents and their parents had used their finery worked for with blood, sweat, and tears. I do the same; crystal and china wedding presents sit and have sat for over thirty years. Maybe it’s time to put to use these treasures from the past; caring for them yes, but honoring their primary purposes; to enhance and enjoy them now, for surely they will not be so valued later.

Thank You, Heavenly Father, for lessons from Your Word that challenge me and make me question not just what I do, but the motives for doing them. That I’m hearing You say to me today; watch your motives, use what you have, value, care. Appreciate the good things earned honestly, and store up treasures taught to me at the knees of those much wiser. Am I getting this? At least I am pondering; at least I am questioning; at least I am considering what You are saying to me through Your Word. Thank You and Bless You for providing instructions written-that followed- bring me closer to the child You would have me be. Amen

One thought on “Are Things Just Things?”

  1. Thanks for the reminder of past generations as my mom was a part of that. Love that you included scripture. Our pastor has taught that it is people that we lead of Christ that are the treasures we are storing up. I do like your take on it. Great way to use the word parlay.

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