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Seen vs. Unseen
Photo: Brian Garvey
I consider myself privileged to stay home full time and raise my two preschool-age children. The only drawback is that this decision places us solidly in the “single income family” category. God blesses us enormously, but we still live very modestly—comfortably, but modestly.

While I dearly love the life I lead, I admit that I might possibly sometimes feel the tiniest twinge of envy regarding friends whose grass looks a bit greener than the grass on my side of the fence. Perhaps their house encompasses a few more square feet and fancier finishing than my own vintage 1980’s tri-level. Maybe they drive a newer car with fewer miles and more style than my minivan. Possibly they scaled the career ladder faster and further than I and have an impressive resume and healthy paycheck to show for it. Or, they might just be beautiful people—you know, those friends who haven’t aged a day since college.

Material Things

Please understand that I find nothing inherently wrong with possessing or striving for material things or caring about one’s personal appearance. These pursuits absolutely have their time and place. The problem arises when a person prioritizes the things of this world over things of eternal value.

I like the way the Apostle Paul explains it in 2 Corinthians. He says, "So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal" (2 Corinthians 4:18). For me, this verse provides a pretty solid reality check. When I feel myself wishing for something I don’t have or obsessing over something I do have, I simply give it Paul’s seen vs. unseen and temporary vs. eternal test. If the object of my desire is something that immediately catches my eye or otherwise awakens my senses, it likely falls into the “seen” category. Further, if the item could potentially be lost, destroyed, or otherwise stripped away, it ranks as “temporary”. Such things, according to Paul, do not deserve the fixation of our eyes—or our hearts.

Where should we focus our attention? On Jesus, first and foremost. With Him as our focus, we naturally place a higher value on the “unseen” things. Things like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control (Galatians 5:22) begin to edge out the material things on our list of priorities. Truly, these qualities, though not flashy or immediately obvious, are the things that last forever. As we strive to build up the “unseen” things in our lives we most certainly store up for ourselves treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:20).

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By Hannah Henry. Copyright © 2007 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture take from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®.

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