Godliness With Contentment
The attic has always held a certain intrigue for me. When I was a little girl, I would beg my Daddy to pull down the attic steps and allow me to climb up into that remote space above our living quarters. It was somewhat dark, smelled of pink insulation, warm wood and dust. I could hear the buzzing of the insects just outside the eaves and it seemed like a cozy place to me, a place away from the business of everyday life. It was quiet and that is something I craved as a little girl.
Dad always allowed me to go to the top of the steps and peek around, and if I was really lucky, he would let me climb up for a minute or two and glance around at all of the interesting collections that had taken up residence there. There were suitcases of old letters, written by my Mom and Dad to each other when they were sweethearts and just newly dating. Stacks of canning jars and old board games lined the walkway. Outdated home decor, boxes of tax records and forgotten toys were stacked precariously around on the floor. It was magical to me. Our Christmas tree and the boxes of little hand painted ceramic decorations were there to remind me of happy holidays spent together as a family. So many things that I found completely interesting. It was almost as if I was seeing another side to Mom and Daddy’s seemingly ordinary life. They had a ‘past.’ I wondered what they were like before I came along and then my sister. I was intrigued.
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This past weekend, found me cleaning out my own attic. My husband and I have a very similar set up with a set of steps that pulls down out of the ceiling and lead to the attic of our home. We store our Christmas and other holiday decorations there as well as old furniture, books, knick- knacks, baby things, and lots and lots of our children’s outgrown toys. It is a wonderland…also a bit of a mess with a capital ‘M’. It was high time, that I cleaned out some of those belongings.
Standing there in our attic surrounded by remnants of my childhood, my earliest years of marriage, bits and bobs of my inheritance from both my grandmothers and my great grandmothers, and even my own children’s early years, I was gently reminded of the passing of time. Sometimes I feel totally caught unaware, that I am now middle aged…a wife, a mother. When did this happen I often wonder? After all, wasn’t I just turning 16 yesterday? But it has happened.
Going through the many boxes stacked on our attic floor, I came across a little brown box labeled “Shortcake” dolls. So it was with great anticipation that I opened that little box to see once again the little Strawberry Shortcake dolls that had entertained me for much of my childhood. The faint whiff of strawberry and apricot smell wafted from the warm box. I was immediately taken back almost 35 years…when I opened my very first Strawberry Shortcake doll at one of my birthday parties. She was dressed in a strawberry colored dress with a little white apron, had carrot red hair that smelled like strawberries and a puffy pink hat. She was instantly my favorite. Oh to be 6 years old again and nothing to do all afternoon but play dolls.
I knew my little Sophie would enjoy these little dolls. They are just the right size for her tiny hands to hold. Most of their clothes are yellowed with age. Their hair is a mess of matted curls and their faces slightly grimy with dust. Nevertheless, I knew she would love them and she does! But, before I took them from the attic, I inspected them all and sadly I picked up several of them and their bottom halves just fell away, crumbling with age and the constant exposure to the heat of their attic home. My heart broke a little. But it reminded me yet again, that everything decays. If I can hold it in my hand, I will eventually one day have to let it go. I need to hold my possessions very loosely.
It was good for me to think of the one thing I have in my life, that will never decay or die. It was comforting to think of God’s precious word and how it never changes. I love that I can pick up my Bible and read the living word and it is ever new. There is always something there for me. There is always a lesson for me, a comforting word almost as if God’s gentle hand reaches out and grasps mine and reassures me that He is always there. Always.
I was reminded of that verse in Matthew 24:35, where Jesus is speaking. He says there that “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” What an absolute comfort and joy that God’s word is forever, never changing, never decaying. In John 6:36, Jesus said “…The words I speak to you are spirit and life.” I love to think of God’s word as a living thing. Something that can give life, nourish and strengthen, I value His word more the older I grow.
I enjoyed reading that little story there in Mark 10:22, about the rich young ruler that came to Jesus. While this man was a good man, he had his hands full of earthly treasure…earthly possessions. When Jesus asked him to give them up, he refused and went away sorrowful. He did not realize that the treasure that Jesus wanted to give him, was so much more valuable than silver and gold. He failed to see where his real treasure really lay. He trusted in his earthly riches.
I was reminded again, that if we hold too tightly to our earthly goods, we can lose our grip on our heavenly treasure. I want to be laying my treasure up in heaven where moth and rust cannot corrupt or thieves break through and steal. I feel the need in my heart and life, to learn to just give it all to Jesus, remembering that God knows best how to use my earthly store to his glory.
There is a line to a hymn that we often sing on Sundays here. It says, “Best though my plans be set at naught; best tho the way be rough; Best, tho my earthly store be scant – in Thee I have enough.” Reminds me of that verse about contentment in first Timothy 6…”Godliness with contentment is great gain.”
I am so glad to have such a wonderful heavenly father, who provides so richly. Even though, as I found when going through my “Attic treasures,” that our earthly belongings at best are very weak…our heavenly treasures cannot be stolen from us, if we put them in God’s safe keeping and watchful care. May this be my portion now and all the days I am blessed with.
I hope your Monday is a lovely one.
Blessings and Sunshine,