This is the Day…Friday
July 23, 2021
“For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.” (1 Timothy 6:7)
The spring of 1982 was an influential time in my life. I had been out of high school for several years. I had attempted college at Appalachian State but that only lasted for one year. I had been working with my Dad in his insurance business for over two years and taking classes at the local community college at night. Through all of these experiences I was searching to find my place and purpose in this world. In the spring of 1982, I realized that I was 22 years old, still working on a college education and still living with my parents. It was time to make some changes.
I immediately began searching for an apartment. It was not that my parents were pressuring me to move out. They had been happy to delay the empty nest as long as possible and were in no hurry to have me leave. But I knew I needed to begin making my own way in life. I found a pre-World War II apartment on the east side of Gastonia. The Poston Circle Apartments. It had two bedrooms, a small kitchen, and water bugs the size of small cats. All of those amenities for only $170 per month.
I moved in on Memorial Day Monday, 1982. Once all the boxes and few pieces of furniture were moved in, I sat down on my couch in my new place and just looked around at my stuff. As I looked through the boxes, I found my old ball glove that I used when I was a child to play ball with the kids in the neighborhood. I found a picture of me and my brothers from a Christmas morning several years earlier. I found an old, cast metal car that I played with as a child in the backyard of our house. As I looked through my boxes, I realized that everything I had was a reminder of my life in the past. None of it was needed or necessary for me to survive. It was all just reminders of where I had come from and who I was. It was stuff that represented a special time in the past. But it was just stuff.
That moving day, I learned that there is no real value in the things we have. Oh, I realize that clothes, furniture, and general stuff cost money and are necessary for our comfort. But the real value is not found in the stuff we have. The real value is in what the stuff represents in our lives. An $800 sofa is very nice. But the $35 vinyl sofa that I wrestled on with my brothers during our summer breaks from school is much more valuable. A $200 family portrait is special. But a bent and torn, black and white photo of me and my brothers with my Mom on the way to church is priceless. The value is in the love that is represented in the stuff.
In all the funerals I have performed in my years, I have never seen a U-Haul truck in the procession to the graveyard. We come into this world with nothing but the power of God’s love. And love is all we take with us.