The Man Who Stored Up Relationships, Not Treasures
We arrived at the small, suburban home nestled in the southwest hills. As we approach the walkway, I notice the slightly overgrown yard and the open garage door. Two white Toyota sedans. The same, but different years. Both older but well cared for.
Rick and his family warmly greet us. We needed to catch up on life and kids and work. It had been too long. As the afternoon drifted into early evening, I felt relaxed and I gazed at this unusual group. A group of people all chatting as though old friends. A farmer, a secretary, a few lawyers, a professor, a judge, a homemaker, a few business owners. Most of us would not know each other, except for these annual gatherings. Strange how Rick had managed to bring all his friends together and made us friends, too.
We catch up on each others’ lives and talk current events. The occasional, “I’m sorry, I don’t remember your husband’s name” or “now how many kids do you have” doesn’t stifle the genuine warmth of the conversation. We all know there are just too many of us to keep track of all the details.
But I notice more here. Not just the relationships that Rick has planted and grown from nothing. But, I notice–as I do every year–how simply Rick and his family live. Sparsely furnished rooms. Furniture that hasn’t been replaced in years–perhaps ever. But a home that is clean. Simple. Comfortable.
This man, who could have much more, chooses to live simply. I realize that as long as I have known him, he has never valued things. I can’t recall ever hearing him talk of cars or homes or things he’d like to have. Rather, his conversations focus around friends and relationships, family, education, great books, history, politics, baseball, and the economy.
I think of Matthew, chapter 6:
Do not store up for yourselves treasure on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. . .
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food . . .
–Matthew 6:19-21; 6:25
I think to myself, This man is wise–wiser than I ever realized.
As the sun gets ready to set, we begin our goodbyes and “see you next years.” I leave with the reminder of what it means to live in a way that reflects God. A relational God.
The day reminds me that it is okay–in fact, good–to live counter-culturally. That is what God wants for us.
I am blessed and my spirit is renewed.
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