This Beautiful Inheritance: Selling a Lifetime of Earthly "Stuff"

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Selling a Lifetime of Earthly "Stuff"

This weekend a couple of my cousins, my sister and I held a yard sale at my Memaw's house. We attempted to sell everything that family members didn't want. Since Memaw passed in September, her four sons, four daughter-in-laws and eleven grandchildren have divvied up her belongings and claimed what was designated for them. But there is still so much left.


We began to realize that Memaw was a bit of a hoarder (though an organized one) and saw everything as sentimental/valuable. Some of the things she kept were treasures, and we were delighted to have them. Others were laughable and left us asking, "What in the world?!"

Throughout the whole sifting, claiming, getting-rid-of process, I couldn't help but dwell on the meaninglessness of stuff.


There's a story preachers tell about a conversation once had at a rich man's funeral. One man asked, "Well, how much did he leave?" Another answered, "He left every bit of it."

That truth became so real after my Memaw passed. (Not because her treasure was in earthly possessions. Her funeral was full of stories in which she impacted people's lives). But simply because I saw -- first hand -- what happens when you die. Your family pilfers through your belongings, giggling at your worthless collection of Holiday Barbies. Then they take home a few mementos and sigh at what's left, hoping for a large yard sale turnout so the rest of this stuff will disappear.


But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. Matt. 6:20

And when the yard sale is over and the stuff is all gone, it's the stories that touch eternity, which are told and treasured.
 
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Like the penniless fourth grader you bought lunch for in 1964, who later became a nurse and brought you flowers each week when you moved into the nursing home where she worked...

Or the underprivileged teenager for whom you always bought birthday and Christmas gifts and who came to call you "Memaw"...

Or the thousands of people who received an old-fashioned, in-the-mail card with your scripted signature and encouraging words and consequently had their days brightened...

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Those are the stories which have become my Memaw's legacy, and their brilliance overshadows the stuff. Thank goodness for that.

Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.
C.T. Studd

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