Last week I helped my parents pack up their house as they moved from Texas to California so they could live near us and simplify their lives. Over the years my parents accumulated a lot of stuff. My mom prided herself on her collection of dolls, ceramic birds, and beanie babies. My dad kept a home office with a large desk and shelves filled with books, tapes, and office supplies. Over the years they had amassed multiple sets of dishes, glasses, golf clubs; closets jam-packed with clothes some dating back to the 1950’s; cupboards bursting with memorabilia from family trips and momentous occasions. You could hardly find an empty corner in the house. Stuff, stuff was everywhere.
My parents knew they’d have to leave most of it behind. So we gathered the things they would need and a few remembrances of the past, but the rest would be sold in an estate sale. They would have to say goodbye to a lifetime’s worth of stuff.
The events over the past week were a powerful reminder to me of the temporal nature of our material things. We can’t take any of it from this world no matter how expensive it was. All that we have we will one day depart from us. It’s ironic because we expend so much energy in life collecting stuff believing it will satisfy us, but it never does. So we go out and buy more stuff while the things we bought in the past deteriorate in our garages.
For this reason, Scripture warns not to put our faith in temporal things that do not last because the only thing we can be certain of are the things of God. The prophet Isaiah writes “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever” (Isa 40:8). He is the only sure investment that will last forever. Imagine if we spent more of our energy investing in spiritual things. We’d have riches that would last an eternity.