There is too much to do today to spend very long writing, but I went to bed thinking some things I needed to be “preached at” about, and thought I might take a moment to write them down as a reminder when I need it later.
As a young girl I liked the idea of a hope chest – a place to collect valuable things I’d want for when I was grown with a home of my own one day. I never actually found an actual box to collect things in, perhaps because my “hopes” were images and ideals as much as tangible items, but I loved to daydream about the things I’d fill it with:
- Scrap quilts, full of resourcefulness and thriftiness and diligent, loving work
- Only the simplest, neatest linens, every one reminding me of the patient effort put into learning serviceable but beautiful stitches
- Old dishes, all used in the past by the housewives who knew how to make hearty food and a happy home
- Sewing patterns, not many of them, but the best ones that mix modern reality with the tastefulness and feminine beauty of old styles
- Children’s clothes, carefully chosen to dress them in innocence and sweetness.
- Books with treasurable pictures that portray the beautiful things of life – love and goodness and joy.
- Not many knick-knacks, but a few that are sweet reminders of my varied heritage in the hills of Kentucky and Norway, Texas, Canada, and India
- Old pictures of the people I love and admire – the Christians who came from Denmark to Canada and passed their beliefs through so many generations, the strong-hearted women in Texas who withstood the hardships of their childhoods. All these items are special to me, because they remind me of the old values that are so hard to find now – diligence and economy, hard work, value for quality, contentment. They’re homey, happy. I could dream about them for hours…
All these items are special to me, because they remind me of the old values that are so hard to find now – diligence and economy, hard work, value for quality, contentment. They’re homey, happy. I could dream about them for hours…
But what am I filling my “box” with? Lately I haven’t been putting any quilts into it. Sometimes I remember one I had one day planned to make, but am becoming resigned now that there simply isn’t time…Every item in a hope chest, or in a real live house, for that matter, requires time and thought to put it there. And every thought I spend on something, I’m not spending on something else. Every moment I spend doing something, I’m not doing something else I could be doing. You can’t do everything you’d like to.
No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.
If I love God with all my heart, how much of my heart would be left to love anything else? How do you learn to un-love something?
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Where am I putting my treasure? In a physical box to furnish a physical house one day? Then that’s where my heart will be. I can’t love God and mammon. I can’t make myself a home here and in heaven.
So instead of making these physical treasures I’d always hoped to fill my home with, what treasures am I choosing instead?
- Knowledge of God – hours upon hours spent studying and putting lessons together
- The love of Jesus – to go to such effort to reach every soul possible, here, and across the world
- The patience of a husbandman who plants and waters and weeds – the laborious effort to illustrate in hopes the lessons might reach those who would not otherwise be interested, and might be inspiring and encouraging
Sometimes I look at my notebook of lessons – a year’s worth of work, and at my pictures which never quite make me happy, and wonder if they really represent lasting work or not. But they certainly have taken up time I would otherwise have been doing things that don’t last!
I don’t think I’ve yet learned to un-love the things I spent my girl-hood dreaming about. Sometimes I still find myself sketching dresses and imagining the inside of a still-imaginary home. But the more I learn to love the eternal treasures I’m working on, the more it crowds out the love of the treasures I can’t keep forever.
It is a sacrifice, to give up the things I treasure most for things whose reward I can’t see yet. But do I go away sorrowful at the things I must “sell?”
Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.
Or do I have faith that the things I’m buying are better?
1 John 2:17
And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
I can spend my time and thoughts preparing a physical chest of things to be ready for the day I hopefully meet my bridegroom, but if I’m spending all my time preparing for a physical one, will I have any treasure ready for the day when the Heavenly Bridegroom returns? I can only choose one place to build my hopes…
The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.