“For we have brought nothing into the world,
so we cannot take anything out of it either.”
1 Tim. 6:7
We enter the world naked. We bring nothing with us when we breathe our first breath. Soon we are soothed, and wrapped in a blanket and maybe a little cap is put on our head.
We are showered with little baby gifts. A rattle, a pacifier, a special blankie, a teddy bear.
During our growing up years we accumulate toys, bikes, a special treasures we keep in a box...a feather, a special rock, or shell…memories.
Soon our possessions get bigger, more expensive, more “weighty”…a car, a diploma, a house. Items resulting from hobbies. Collections. Albums of memories. Trophies.
And so we use and enjoy our “things” for many years. But, aging or disease or both come with physical and/or mental limitations. Most of us have to think about downsizing eventually.
The “special” things get condensed and the “non-meaningful” things get tossed so we can live in a more manageable way.
If we live a really long time, we’ll likely have to downsize again, maybe to just one room. Special treasures, will be given to those who will appreciate them and everything else, will be given away or thrown out. All that’s left is a bed, a bookcase, a dresser and whatever memories can hang on the walls.
Immediate surroundings may blur as our vision wanes, and the voices of those we love may be our last possession.
When death finally closed the eyes of my dad 10 days ago, even his wedding ring, never removed in 64 years, was no longer his, but became my precious possession.
Some of us will outlive those we love. My dad outlived my mom. I am outliving him.
We enter with nothing. We leave with nothing.
When my ailing dad came to live with us 2 weeks ago, he was in the final downsizing phase of his life. He and my mom had come to live in the condo, across the street from us 3 years ago. Before that they moved from their large country home into a smaller house in town. Each move generated bags of items for donation, trash, garage sale, or distributing to family and friends. Each move left them with less.
After 96 years, my dad’s soul left earth and went to Heaven. I had the privilege of going through the experience of both my mom and dad departing Earth within the last 3 months. One of the more poignant lessons has come from working my way down memory lane, going through the precious possessions that my parents left behind. Since my parents were both very detailed and interested in family history, there are many treasures packed away, and most are labeled as to their origin. Every time I open a new little box, and find a little note from them, it’s like they are still here. I'm enjoying this process.
Some of the memories surfaced by these household items are not so pleasant. For instance, my mom’s ankle brace, dad’s medications, walkers, wheelchairs, shower chair, hospital bed, etc., etc.; evidences of the effects of the Genesis Fall on 91 and 96 year old bodies. I was so happy to dispose of these things and glad that neither one of them will ever again experience the maladies that plagued them in their later years.
God wants us to know that we come with nothing and will leave with nothing. Well nothing “temporal” that is. My dad left me with a precious treasure over the last 2 months of his life. Our relationship grew in ways I hadn’t expected. With my mom in Heaven, he and I shared some very precious moments, and short but meaningful things were said. The Lord truly gave me some wonderful times with him, and precious memories, which glorify God, because of the way my dad trusted Jesus, and prayed together, in spite of some very trying times. When struggling with his physical suffering, he would often end up saying “It’s in the Lord’s hands.”
The ONLY things we take with us into the next life, are not "of this world" but they are very real. Here's a few...
- Our relationship with Christ, the salvation He provides, and all the spiritual blessings in the Heavenly places. (Ephesians 1)
- Our relationship with other believers who we will enjoy eternity with as we worship God and enjoy him forever. (1 Corinthians 2:9)
- The blessings given to each Christian when they get saved, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23)
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb and naked I shall return there.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away.
Blessed be the name of the Lord.”
“Do not 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 do not break in or steal;
for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”