In this Home Words Bound, the Rev. Benton Heisler talks about the treasures that endure.
REV. BENTON HEISLER
Director of Connectional Ministries, Michigan Conference
One year ago this week, Linda’s mom died. She had been living in our home the past 12 years since the death of her husband. She had watched our two daughters finish middle and high school, college, acquire jobs, get married and give birth to our grandson. She had selected me to be the executor of her estate. I “was her” the past 12 years as her power of attorney. I have completed all the sorting of belongings, furnishings, Christmas decorations and memorabilia and divided it equally between the five siblings. There are a few treasured photos, wall items, a hand full of dishes and a couple of pieces of furniture that remain in our home.
It was painfully hard to initially distribute everything. A part of her left with every exit of a belonging. Grief is an odd wave of energy that comes and goes at its own will. One year later the crashing of the waves has subsided and the memories shimmer more like reflections of God’s grace on the calm early morning water of a picturesque lake.
I have another individual who recently has asked me care for the details of distributing their belongings once they too move on to that great cloud of witnesses. Listening to them describe some of their “last wishes” and seeing the various belongings acquired to date along the way, triggered that familiar text of Jesus; “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourself treasures in heaven…for where your treasure is there will our heart be also.” (Matthew 6: 19-21)
I recently wandered through a couple of “collectible stores.” It is always an odd feeling looking at the volume and variety of items that at one time somebody experienced as “their treasure.” Rust here, a chip there, scratches, dents, a missing piece, a portion broken allows every “treasure” to have a story. Thus, so it is with us. We must take care daily to nurture the treasure of the relationship we have with God in Jesus Christ and the treasured relationships we have with one another.
Mechanical equipment and tools need to be oiled, greased, cleaned of debris, kept out of the elements. If not the “moth and rust soon consume” and even if carefully maintained the thief may break in and steal. No longer is this simply a warning of a potential calamity, it is now a metaphor for the “theft” of your images, ideas, conversations and life’s patterns. Just ask Mr. Zuckerburg!
Daily care can be given to the treasure held in our heart: our love of God, our love of neighbor, and even the capacity to love ourselves, despite all our failings. Time spent in the biblical record of God’s activity and interest in our human realities keeps the moving parts lubricated, the dirt and debris removed and creates a shelter of God’s Grace over us.
A few weeks before Faith’s death we were out to eat. She always had space for some ice cream.
She was up to the task once again. As she tackled the sundae, she declared with great enthusiasm, “Yum…this is delicious! I don’t believe I have ever had one of these before!” I knew that was not the case, but the human frailty that was gradually erasing her memory, never overcame the depth of gratitude in her heart that was matched only by her name. She had made the Word her home, she knew the truth and it set her free. May it be so for us all!
Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed!
~“If you make my Word your home, you will indeed be my disciples. You will know the truth and the truth will set you free (John 8:13 New Jerusalem~ Bible.)” Each article I write for this column is based in the guidance of a particular Scripture passage. I pray that these reflections, stories and information will assist you in your own witness and service as a Disciple of Jesus Christ.