Yesterday a lesson was reinforced in my life. Since I believe God knows about every need in the lives of His children, He must have seen that a double dose of this lesson was needed. I have written about this general theme once before in a previous lesson from the farm, and I thought the subject was explored sufficiently; but evidently not as it has weighed heavily upon my heart.


Let me explain what happened. For over 50 years I have gathered a collection of record albums. First it was 78’s, then 45’s, and finally 33’s. The titles consisted mainly of country and western, rock-n-roll, southern gospel, quartets, and Christmas music. When we moved to the farm, I brought all these records with me. There are two or three hundred albums stored in cabinets and shelves – taking up a lot of space. My grandkids thought they were large CD’s until I told them differently. Of course, over time recorded music has been transformed into 8-tracks, cassettes, CD’s, MP3’s, i-Pods, etc., etc. But these were the records that I grew up listening to and enjoying, and from time to time and with fond memories I would review each title and remember how and when I used to play these albums on my record player. Today, I do not even own a working record player. My wife wonders why I keep these albums. The answer is simple: they are some of my memories and I wanted to hang on to them because of their sentimental value. I also thought they had some monetary value as well.


Yesterday I made the decision to get rid of the albums. As I took each album off the shelf, I reminisced before I put it into a box. Finally after four boxes were filled, I hauled them in the trunk of my car to the nearest book store 25 miles away for them to survey and purchase my collection. I envisioned the clerks being overwhelmed with the quality and value of this collection. Since most of the album jackets were in good condition, I thought I really had “good stuff” for them to purchase. As I waited and browsed in the store, I was consoled in my thoughts that even though I was giving up untold memories, I was going to be reimbursed generously because of the worth of my collection. Finally, they called my name to come to the counter to receive their estimate. The manager gave me a little slip of paper revealing the sum total of $20.00; further stating that there was simply no market whatsoever for these record albums. I was devastated. It was barely enough for gas money to drive home. My choices were slim and none – either take the money and go, or pack up all my albums and go home to look at them some more. I took the money and went home using the drive time to reflect upon what had just happened.


As I drove home a myriad of thoughts came to me because the Holy Spirit was at work reminding me of various scriptures and of the teachings of Jesus. I was reminded of how good God is to walk along side of me and be my counselor, because He knew I needed His wisdom. How precious to remember that “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6)! He was not going to leave me as an orphan to flounder in the major issues of life like a leaf in the wind. Spiritual nudges are helpful and necessary from time to time.


The first thing I remembered was of a previous lesson from the farm I had written last year entitled Just Things. While not intending to rewrite that article, I do want to rehearse a few of the pertinent points and scriptures, because they have relevance to this lesson. Jesus reminded his disciples how easily materialism can engross and entrap us. He said, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses” (Lk. 12:15). He wanted his followers to be rich toward God, and by that He meant spiritual enrichment – not the personal enjoyment of things. That is why He encouraged us to store up treasurers in heaven rather than on earth (Matt. 6:19-20). Jesus was concerned with the heart. His guiding principle was stated clearly when He concluded, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt. 6:21).


Secondly, I will confess that I had a hard time letting go of those old records. I really struggled with how I should feel about it, and how I actually felt about it; the records were so special, yet at the same time they were just things. I knew that in no way I could take them with me into eternity nor would I even dare to think in such terms (Eccl. 5:15). Yet, there I was, wanting to hold on and at the same time knowing it was time to let go. That’s a human dilemma concerning many issues of life –and death. But the real answer I received from the Lord was to look at the $20.00 in my hand and be reminded of the real value of the things of this earth. What we sometimes think as valuable is really nothing more than just a little gas money home. Jesus said that the treasures of earth are subject to moths, rust, and thieves (Matt. 6:19). The old song says it well, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus; look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.”


Through this incident, I personally and vividly was reminded of how little value the things of this life really have. True, many things have great monetary value in this life, and some increase in value as time goes by. God has blessed some of us with special collections; i.e., coins, books, dishes, cars, clothes, weapons, heirlooms, tools, etc., and there is nothing inherently wrong in having them (1 Tim. 6:17). Sometimes it is not the dollar value as much as it is the sentimentality attached, as we desire to leave an inheritance of these things to loved ones. However, we should be very careful not to misplace their importance and preference and substitute them for God’s eternal best. Jesus said, “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his own soul” (Mk. 8:36)?


God is concerned about the heart. While it is not wrong to possess things, it is very wrong for things to possess us; and sometimes the more things there are, the tighter their grip. And the tighter the grip, the more difficult it is to prey the fingers loose when the time comes. Everything you have has been given you by the kind permission of a gracious and beneficent Heavenly Father; and you in turn should abound in this grace also, and be cheerful and generous in returning to Him of your blessings to further the work of His kingdom (2 Cor. 8:7-9). The sobering truth stands from the words of Jesus to the man who tore down his barns to build bigger barns, “You fool! This night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself…. This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God” (Lk. 12:16-21).


This world is not my home, I’m just a passing through,

My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue.

The angels beckon me from heaven’s open door,

And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.