Many years ago, before having children, I picked up a new hobby in the form of sewing. It was slow going at first and I still don’t claim any expertise. With the arrival of children, my sewing has focused predominantly on bibs, burb cloths and children’s clothes. I don’t sew as much as I once did, because time simply doesn’t allow for it, but I have faithfully made a special quilt for each new baby in our family. The quilt doesn’t get used much, but the purpose of a keepsake is fulfilled. Lucy’s quilt has taken me the longest to make, because grief doesn’t work on a predictable or productive time table.
With the impending arrival of one child and the recent departure of another child, I have been faced with the glaring reality that not only are our days numbered but also that we do not know the number of the days. I do not want to waste time and I want to be ever so cautious about what I make with my hands and where my treasure is being stored. This morning I read the 6th chapter of 1 Timothy with my children. We spoke about money and treasure. While money is a moral neutral, the love of money is the root of all evil (1 Timothy 6:10) . We paused and spent time pondering verses 6-7, which says, “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.”
Am I storing things in the attic or eternity?
The kids understand that when Lucy is born, she will bring nothing into this world. They giggled as they talked about babies being born naked, crying and unable to even hold up their head. The kids also noted that Jane didn’t get to take any of her favorite toys with her when she died. I know Jane took nothing, because we packed away her stuffed animals, washed her sheets and took down her bed over the weekend. It was another reminder of where my treasure is found. Am I storing things in the attic or eternity?
Sunday, I packed the baby quilt I made for Jane into a box and I wept bitterly. It felt like a second burial. George came in the room and asked a now familiar question, “Mommy, are you having sad tears or happy tears?” I looked at his sweet face of concern and told the truth, “both.” I told George how much a I missed Jane and how missing her made me so sad. I also told George how happy it made me to know that Jane is with Jesus and while she doesn’t have her baby quilt and stuffed animals anymore, she does have all that she needs. Things in this world that can be packed, cannot be carried into eternity.
Things in this world that can be packed, cannot be carried into eternity.
I’m thankful for the quilts that have been made in our home. They hold sweet memories and bring about praise to my Heavenly Father who gives good and perfect gifts. I am also painfully aware of what my hands are now making. Am I storing up treasures on earth? Or am I investing my resources, time and heart into things eternal? Wouldn’t it be a shame to find that my daughter did more for the Kingdom of God in her two years of life than I have done in my 32 or 60 or 80 or however many the Lord gives me on this earth? While Paul tells Timothy that we come into the world with nothing and will leave with nothing, he also bestows this truth in 1 Timothy 6:18-19, “Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.”
Lucy will come into this world with nothing. Jane left this world the way we all will one day, with nothing. This constant reminder in our home is painful and often tastes bitter, but it is also an unbelievable grace. It is a reminder that we all need. Are we living well, so that we might die well? Am I living in light of eternity as a temporary sojourner or am I living for the here and now, where I’m not even promised tomorrow? I want to take hold of the life that is truly life, don’t you?
Are we living well, so that we might die well?
Many things in our home will be left behind by our children and ourselves. Many things have already been left behind. We want to hold tightly to the glory that is to come, to the treasure that could not be brought or bought in this world. We want to spend our time wisely, investing in eternity. I don’t want to waste a single minute, because my minutes are numbered and I don’t know the number. I want to live out the knowledge that things packed cannot be carried.