I ask that question quite frequently. If not that exact question, then one of a similar nature.
- Where’s my Hex wrenches?
- Where’s my new scraper?
- Who used my drill last and where did you leave it?
- Would somebody please tell me where they left or hid the TV remote?
Last night (as I write this on Wednesday morning), it was my favorite blue-handled framing hammer missing from action. Eventually, after looking for something else, I found it in the bottom of a basket full of electric tools (said tools which haven’t been used by me in months). It was like somebody took everything out and laid it in the very bottom before piling it all back in.
Have you ever heard of the mischievous sock elves (the ones responsible for the one missing sock of a pair in the basket of freshly laundered clothes)? At my house, we also have the if-it-belongs-to-the-Dad-let’s-use-his-stuff-and-leave-it-in-obscure-places elves.
Whether your experiences are like mine or not (please don’t further depress me by telling me I am alone on this), we all value our stuff. Sometimes it’s because we paid good money for the things we own and the value derives from that. Sometimes the value is found in what the stuff is used for. And sometimes, the value of our stuff is based on sentimental worth. In my closet (which is often not safe from the I-need-a-pair-of-dress-socks-or-a-plain-white-T-shirt elves), there are two footlockers full of my Cole’s treasures. Inside are toy cars, ball caps, stuffed animals, assorted balls, and other things of little monetary worth. But because they were his, they are my treasures now. Others might see junk, but those things are of immeasurable worth to me.
In the great scheme of life, nothing we own of a physical nature has any lasting or eternal value. On the other hand, how we view our stuff does. In the guise of keeping it real, stinginess comes easy for me. But since stingy is never pretty, I must work hard at not holding on so tightly to my stuff. What helps me is seeing my stuff as tools. I can use my tools to serve myself, or I can use my tools to serve God and others. Serving God and others helps me recognize the true source of my stuff.
How about you? Got stuff? Where is your treasure?
Don’t store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves don’t break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19–21 CSB17)