It’s amazing what you find when you pack up your belongings to move. “Hidden treasures” rise out of nowhere and with each one rediscovered comes one of three usual responses:
1. “So, that’s where that went…”
2. “What is this anyway?”
3. “Ah…remember this?”
The first two responses are usually followed with the immediate disposal of the long-lost or obsolete item.
Disposal of an item after the third response may take a little longer but eventually it too may find the trash bin – or least the giveaway box.
What’s amazing about all of this is how quickly a treasure can become trash. For instance, two TVs that we bought not-too-many years ago it seems (each for a sizable sum) we struggled to give away. Furniture pieces that we once cherished waited on Craig’s list way too long before they joined their kind at the Goodwill drop-off center.
How does that happen? How does something once so valuable become refuse in just a short time?
For the TVs it was technology that changed. The sets stayed the same but the world around them…didn’t. The clothing we found hadn’t changed much but the bodies that used to wear them had. And on the other side, the price of the pennies that I found dating back to the 1940’s was assessed at exactly…1¢ each. (Side note: the cent symbol doesn’t appear on today’s keyboards anymore. I had to go to “special characters” to even type it into this blog post.)
So time isn’t always what determines treasure from trash. In fact, I’m thinking that even time itself loses its value if it is treasured too highly. I’ve had way too many friends whose loved ones were gone in the blink of an eye. The precious time with that husband, wife, mother, or father ended abruptly. I’ve learned, therefore, that time is not to be assumed or anticipated and it definitely cannot be hoarded.
It all comes down, then, to what is indeed considered treasure.
The great author C.S. Lewis spoke to this when he said, “Aim at heaven, and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither.”
I think this was what Jesus was getting at when He preached the Sermon on the Mount. He said, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
I’ve internalized this, if nothing else, in this present move from Nashville to Georgia: Cardboard boxes (even those that contain precious memorabilia) cannot store nor transfer that which is eternal. What is eternal treasure? Well, Jesus gives an earthly example (so we could understand it) about what is the greatest treasure. In Matthew 13 we find this simile:
“God’s kingdom is like a treasure hidden in a field for years and then accidentally found by a trespasser. The finder is ecstatic—what a find!—and proceeds to sell everything he owns to raise money and buy that field.
Or, God’s kingdom is like a jewel merchant on the hunt for excellent pearls. Finding one that is flawless, he immediately sells everything and buys it.” (from The Message)
And as He would say, “those who have ears, let them hear.”