Here in America, we love our stuff. Cars, boats, motorcycles, toasters… But the problem with stuff is it keeps breaking down.
I had this old boat I bought from a friend for $2000. Great little 16-foot with the walkthrough windshield and mercruiser. The boys and I would fish in it and ski and pull tubes. There was just one problem. It needed constant repairs. One time a friend of mine at it and said, “Bill, a boat like that… once a month just open the engine covering and throw in a hundred dollar bill.”
Once I was on this big lake fishing with my son Matthew. He was about 6. My hat blew off, so we had to go back to get it. Put the boat in reverse.
Suddenly, the boat wouldn’t go forward anymore. So we had to back off the lake.
Matthew thought it was great. “Dad,” he said, “you are a great backer.”
“This is a great adventure.”
“Yes it is.”
“When I get bigger, will you teach me to back like this?”
Guys in their tricked out bass boats kept roaring by. “Don’t that son of a buck know that thing’ll go forward?”
Things are like that. They just won’t last.
And if they didn’t fall apart naturally, you can bet a strong storm is practically guaranteed to come through and beat it to death eventually.
In 1999, the worst tornado in American history tore through Oklahoma City. A group of men from our church went to help. The devastation was incredible. I saw a tractor bent over double, a truck two miles from where it was parked.
Standing on a hill, it looked like a giant lawn mower had cut a ½ mile wide strip right through everything. Houses were gone. Even the boards to the foundation were gone. Trees were nubs of trunks. No bark. Sheet metal wrapped around things like foil.
Everything was gone.
One day, we worked in the city sifting through the rubble of the home of an elderly woman. Everything was in pieces. What could we possibly hope to find? One guy found her prayer journal and the family pictures. Another guy found her Bible. When they called to tell her, she cried with joy!
Cried with joy? Think about that.
This woman has someone else’s car sitting upside down in her lawn. The house is gone. All of her things are broken. But she rejoiced because her Bible, prayer journal, and pictures were found! How could she do that?
Here’s the secret. What she treasured was more valuable than her stuff. When her stuff got blown away, she didn’t lose her treasure.