I just experienced a couple real-life illustrations of Bible verses. Unfortunately.
Last night, I opened my jewelry box to grab my favorite bracelet. It wasn't there. I'm one of those compulsively organized people who has "a place for everything, and everything in its place," so I was puzzled the bracelet wasn't in its designated spot.
As I began searching for it, I gleefully thought, I'm like the woman in the parable of the lost coin. What a great, illustrative experience! I figured I'd quickly find the bracelet, rejoice that it had been recovered, and I'd call my friends to happily share how I'd lived out the parable. But after searching in all the logical places, and then some illogical ones, I became concerned. Alarmed. Upset. Two hours passed. Just before I went to bed, I sadly told my husband that I'd lost the bracelet he bought me.
He'd been elated when he purchased it. But I'd been upset after seeing the receipt. It had cost a pretty penny, and it didn't seem wise to spend so much on a silly little accessory. As he wrapped it around my wrist and fastened the clasp, all I could think about were the dollars that thing had drained from our checking account. Later, I complained about the expenditure to a single girlfriend. "Wow, it must be tough to have a husband who surprises you with expensive jewelry," she said with an obvious roll of her eyes. (That rightly made me feel like a jerk.)
So I started wearing the bracelet. Every time I put it on, I thought about how my husband valued me. Extravagantly. That made me feel good, and I gotta admit, the bracelet looked gorgeous on me. I began to love my special treasure. Still, I didn't wear it often, since I was terrified of scratching it or losing it.
Reality is setting in today: My bracelet is gone. I wish I'd worn it every day. I wished I'd expressed more gratitude when my husband gave it to me. I wish I could find it, if only to recognize its non-monetary value. I think about my husband, who never goes shopping and doesn't even buy his own clothes, selflessly walking into the mall. Joyfully picking out the piece he knew would look so perfectly delicate and elegant on my wrist. Gleefully presenting it to me on Christmas morning, with the box covered in crumpled, uneven gift wrap. ("I wrapped it myself," he'd proclaimed. That made me smile.)
Hubby squeezed me tight today, reminding me that his love hasn't gotten lost. And the words of Matthew 6:19-21 comforted me: "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth 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."
Admittedly, it drives me nuts to lose something so valuable. I hope this teaches me to take care of what I own. But more importantly, I hope I'll recognize my stuff isn't my real treasure.
1) Think about your stuff. Is there something that would make you sad if it was lost, broken, or stolen?
2) Think about how you take care of your stuff (i.e. detailing your car, keeping your clothes perfectly pressed, organizing your music collection). How much time do you spend caring for your stuff? In comparison, how much time do you spend caring for people?
3) Is there someone in your life who has done something valuable for you, and you haven't expressed gratitude?
4) Think about the gratitude you've expressed (or haven't expressed) recently to God. Are there things you need to say to him right now?