Wednesday, September 07, 2005

"Till My Trophies At Last I Lay Down"

Henley the big black dog and I were walking this morning, and it being Tuesday in Valparaiso, the curbs were cluttered here and there with trash and treasures. It happens every week here, because our incredibly efficient trash guys will pick up basically anything that's not moving or hazardous. So frequently people will leave things to throw away that someone else would take to Goodwill, or even keep.

This morning, as I walked by a stack of boxes, a glint of sunshine off gold caught my eye. I stopped and looked into the box and noticed it was full of trophies. There must have been a dozen trophies and plaques all thrown together in that box. There were other objects there too but since I'm under watch care by my wife as a recovering packrat, I walked on. But it got me to thinking.

At one time, everything that person had discarded mattered - maybe a great deal. Those trophies might have occupied a prominent place in his house. Those plaques might have been the center of attention, prominently displayed on a wall. They'd make sure each visitor say them. They'd use them to launch into stories of days gone by. But now they were trash.

Friends, I've spent some time lately with men who are looking past this life into the next. They've both been diagnosed with illnesses that mean their time on this earth is drawing to a close. For one that might mean weeks, for another the prognosis isn't sure yet. Both are receiving all the help modern medicine can provide. But death comes for us all, and for them sooner rather than later. When talking with them last week, one told me frankly "I haven't done everything I wanted to do. But I'm ready to go if it's God's will. " The other phrased it this way - "I've had a full life, now I'll just have to trust God through this."

You know, in the hours of conversations I've had with them lately, I never heard a word about "stuff" or trophies of any kind. All I heard was about people - about friends and loved ones, and about their God.

Jesus asked the question, "What good is it to gain the whole world and lose your soul?"

Well, from where I sit, these two men haven't lost anything. Instead, by holding onto their faith in Christ as their Savior, they've found peace in circumstances that might overwhelm any person. They might have to "lay their trophies down" soon, but they'll soon be wearing a crown.

Hallelujah, what a Savior!


David Wilson

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