Last month I packed up the belongings that my 89-year old father-in-law had accumulated over his lifetime because he was moving out of the home he’d lived in for over 20 years to live with a friend. My husband and brother-in-law took many trips to the donation center where they gave away furniture and other items that my in-laws had spent considerable money on to decorate their lovely home. The consignment shops had no room as they were burgeoning with items from other elderly Floridians who were also transitioning from single-family dwellings to live with family members or go into assisted living.
During the same month, I visited my parents who are in their 90’s and as I looked around their house at all of their belongings—they love artwork and have collected paintings and sculptures throughout their almost 70 years of marriage—I was keenly aware that most of what they possessed and treasured would sell for pennies on the dollar at an estate sale.
Several other things have happened over the last several months to give me a necessary reality check in our materialistic world-- in which I can so easily get caught up-- of the foolishness of focusing upon and investing an inordinate amount of time and money on the things of this world.
· Between Christmas and New Years I purged my closet of clothes that at one time I thought I ‘had to have’ but now no longer fit me or are no longer in style.
· The heater for our basement went out, a necessary and expensive piece of equipment, and one that I know will only last for a time before it too will have to be replaced.
· After being out and about running all kinds of errands I came home and discovered that one of the sterling earrings that I had been wearing was gone. There was no point in trying to retrace all of my steps to find it, and having only one of a pair of earrings is useless.
· An oriental rug of mine got a spill on it; while attempting to clean it, the color faded, and a spot remains that spoils the ‘perfection’ of that costly rug.
· The ‘service engine’ light went on--always the indicator that even more money would need to be spent on-- what was once my shiny, 'luxury-line' car that at 12 years old with its outdated technology doesn't hold a candle to even today's economy cars.
· The wrinkles on my face that I no longer can convince myself are just ‘laugh lines’-- coupled with the birth date on my driver’s license-- let me know that I am well past the days of my youth, and all too quickly approaching the ‘twilight’ years of my life.
· The very unexpected death on Christmas Eve of a close friend of mine’s husband from an abdominal aneurism was a tragic and fresh reminder that even the people I know and love may not be around tomorrow.
However, in the midst of all of these stark reminders of the reality that things on this earth will rust, rot, require repair, fade, go out of style, disappear, or die-- I could rejoice. Why? Because the transitory nature of everything else in this world highlighted to me the unchanging nature of God—the only One Who WILL NOT-- and even more importantly--CANNOT change! In referring to Himself, God told Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ” (Exodus 3:14) He is the Alpha and the Omega, the God Who created and oversees time, the One Who was, Who is, and Who is to come (Revelation 1:8), the only eternal Being. Therefore, He is the only one in the world on whom you can totally and truly depend! If you have put your trust in Him and His faithful promises, you can rest assured that He cannot fail you, and He will never leave you or forsake you.
The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever. Isaiah 40:8 ESV
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8 ESV
He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a human being, that he should change his mind. 1st Samuel 15:29NIV
Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5 ESV
Of old you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you will remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away, but you are the same, and your years have no end. Psalm 102:25-27 ESV
On what are you focusing your time and attention? Are you more consumed with the things of this world that are here today and gone tomorrow, or are you investing your time and energy focusing on studying the unchanging Word of God, so you can better know and be in the presence of our Eternal God? The Bible, His written Word, reveals to us the nature and ways of the 'Living Word' Jesus, Who is always ‘Faithful and True’ (Revelation 19:11). Investing your time each day in getting to know God better will pay abundant dividends for this life, as well as for the life to come. 'The One Year Bible' or other Bible reading plans are a great tool to help ensure that you invest daily in what matters most. I am starting my 22nd consecutive year of reading through the Bible and it's the single most important thing I have done to renew my mind and transform my heart. I encourage you to make reading God's unchanging Word your daily discipline so that your investment of time, effort and energy will yield eternal dividends that last forever and can never be taken away from you.
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also…. Matthew 6:19-21 ESV
Written by Julie Van Gorp