Possessions of this life.
“But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven,
where neither moth nor rust destroys,
and where thieves do not break in or steal…” Matthew 6:20
Recently my dear mother-in-law stepped into the presence of the Lord in Glory. She was really quite an extraordinary woman. I always knew that, but it was brought home to me in a particular way in cleaning out her home. You can really tell things about a person’s personality by the possessions they have. My mother-in-law cared little for earthly possessions except for the things that gave her joy or were beautiful reminders of the places she’d been.
This woman of God spent a lifetime serving others. Her life and doctrine were committed to it.
- She traveled with her husband to Africa, Thailand, England and the southwestern US in service and ministry.
- She worked to put her husband through medical school and labored raising 3 young sons in difficult conditions.
- She served faithfully in every church she attended in numerous ways.
- She made sure, even to the end of her life, that she was a burden to no one.
And she loved to travel and learn!
Most of us would have huge amounts of souvenirs: pictures, videos, T-shirts, trinkets, etc. Not Mom. She had a few beautiful postcards of extraordinary places gathered into a tasteful framed collage. She had a few magnificent pieces of African wooden sculptures or bowls on one shelf. Only a couple of unique framed pieces of artwork on her walls. An antique clock built in 1836 with a written history of ownership as it now passes to her youngest son.
And she had music. And she had books. And she had a computer.
But even most books that she read (and she was a prolific reader) were not kept. Some she shared with her sons for Christmas presents, some she traded with used book stores and some she simply tore apart to read one chapter at a time and toss when finished.
None of her possessions owned her. Her apartment was sparse and modest.
She traveled light in this world.
Possessions for eternity.
It made me look at my life anew (as looking death in the face is wont to do). We are not an extravagant family. We live very modestly compared to many – but we are possession hogs compared to my mother-in-law. Granted she was 1 and we are currently 9. And granted that we use about 85% of the things in our home on a very regular basis. But very often lately, I feel like all of these possessions own me instead of the other way around.
- How did we get to this place?
- How do we escape from this hole?
- How do we honor God with the possessions we have?
These are questions that have been ruminating through my mind these past 2 weeks.
I don’t believe we have to live as sparsely as the Shakers who owned only what was needful in life (a few chairs hung on rails on the walls and a bed). Nor do I think we all have to live as sparsely as my mother-in-law. But my thoughts have been taking me to eternal possessions. Am I amassing them as readily as earthly possessions? Am I seeking out that eternal weight of glory in my life? Am I as anxious to take those eternal souvenirs from my travels through life that will change me into the image of Jesus and draw others to Him?
As I continue to clean and declutter through the fall, this is a thought I’m hoping to take with me (and to share with my family) as we each face the question:
[clickToTweet tweet=”Do we own our possessions, or do they own us?” quote=”Do we own our possessions, or do they own us?”]
And now, here is my menu for the week in my Menu Planning Monday. Please feel free to download my FREE, fully editable, Month at a Glance menu planner, my Weekly Menu Planner and my new Snacks planner.