If anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay, or straw, each one’s work will become obvious.” 1 Corinthians 3:12-13
It appeared in my next-door neighbor’s yard. It wasn’t unexpected…in fact it was quite the opposite. My wife Judy and I have lived here at 217 for just over 21 years. In our immediate area we are the “old-timers” in the neighborhood. When we moved in we were surrounded with older—significantly older—neighbors. We enjoyed each one but slowly over time, time took its toll and they passed away. Well, the neighborhood has changed some over the years and more change is coming.
The neighbor who owned the house next door to us is now gone too and they are doing what families often have to do and that is cleaning out the house and preparing it to be sold. They lived in this house forever—decades and decades. And as is always the case, they accumulated a lot of stuff. Having visited in their home several times, they had gathered many beautiful treasures along their journey. Beautiful antiques of all sorts were scattered throughout the home. Some will be saved by family members, and some will be sold at an upcoming estate sale.
If you have ever lived in a house for a long time, you know how easy it is to accumulate stuff. I know Judy and I often look around our home and marvel at the stuff we have—and need to clear out. If we don’t, well, someday someone will. Well, a truck came the other day and dropped off a monster dumpster at our neighbor’s house. A day later came a crew of several men and women with one mission: to clear the clutter. Their job was to begin going through the house and discarding the stuff that no one in their right mind would want. It was a daunting task to say the least. In a matter of hours that monstrous dumpster was filled and overflowing and there is more, much more, to go.
When it comes time for the sale, I want to go over and see if there is a small treasure that I can purchase to remember our neighbors by. They were good folks. I remember one time when I had just moved in, I was mowing my grass and my new neighbor, and I were chatting and I mentioned that it was the second time in a week I had to mow the grass. He said, in all seriousness but not a drop of meanness, “Dewayne, you don’t have grass—you have weeds.” I still smile today when I think of that exchange.
So, let me ask you a question. What treasures and what clutter do we have in our lives. Now, I’m not talking about our homes…I am talking about our everyday, journey through life, lives. I know in my life there are things that I treasure—my faith, my family with all its crazy ups and downs, my character and reputation, my precious memories—well, you get the point. Just like you, I have so many things that fill my life with joy and purpose. They may not bring much at an estate sale, but they were extremely valuable to me.
But honestly, there is a lot of clutter too. Often, they are part of the bumps and bruises that naturally occur in life. There’s a broken heart here, a scarred memory there and too many unkind words—both spoken by me and received by me. There are missed opportunities and unwise decisions and well, once again, you get the idea. These all are things that need to go in a dumpster—not later in preparation for our “estate sale” but now. You see, the more emotional and hurtful clutter we clear discard now the more room there will be for the treasures that matter.
One day Paul, the guy that wrote a chunk of the New Testament was talking about treasures and clutter. He wrote that each life would consist of treasures—gold, silver and precious stones and clutter—wood, hay and stubble. Then he said that only the treasures will last. I’m gonna go one step further and say that only the treasures should last. The rest, the clutter, need to go into the dumpster—today. In the movie, Frozen, the song encouraged us to, “let it go.” Well, I think today would be a good day, to let the clutter go and begin now to make more room for the things that matter the treasures.
Our lives go by so quickly, let’s not waste a minute. Let’s be wise enough to make the most of every day so that when the estate sale of our life is held, we will need only a very small dumpster to hold the regrets. Need a little help sorting through it all? Well, I am sure that God would love to help you with that…after all, He’s got this. Bro. Dewayne