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The office where I work shut down for a hurricane. Employees were told to store critical data and irreplaceable items in their desk drawers or filing cabinets. I regularly back-up my work. For me, it was like going home on any normal day. I stored my current day’s work, cleaned up my desk, and got ready to leave.

“What about your models?” a co-worker asked. “You are not going to leave them out, are you? “If the window blows in, they will get ruined.”

“Then I get to replace them.” I said.

I spend fifteen to twenty minutes at lunchtime making models out of cardstock and toothpicks. Many are scale models of the products my company makes. When done, I display them atop my bookcase. I have worked at this office for years and there are now quite a few. The visual effect is impressive, yet many forget the real significance of the models—or rather their insignificance. The material value of each model is negligible. They are cut paper and glue. Their construction provided a few hours of stress relief. The activity offered a break from computer monitors, so I returned to my work refreshed and alert.

As the builder of the models, I know the flaws each contains. They are not irreplaceable. I could build a new one, better than the existing one. In some cases, I have done so, giving the earlier version to a co-worker, delighted despite the flaws.

Not Much of a Prize

They are also impermanent. All things are. People forget this. Many become obsessed with the accumulation of things. The bumper sticker reads, “He that dies with the most toys, wins.” Wins what? A collection of toys his heirs must dispose of? Not much of a prize.

We are all temporary visitors on Earth. As Christians we must remember that life is part of our journey, not our destination. Jesus warns repeatedly about the danger of becoming obsessed with “things.” In the parable of the Rich Fool, the rich fool states: “And I'll say to myself, ‘You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.’ "But God says, 'This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?'“ (Luke 12:19-20).

In the Parable of the Unwilling Guests, Jesus talks of a wedding feast where the invited guests “. . . all alike began to make excuses. The first said, 'I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.' Another said, 'I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I'm on my way to try them out. Please excuse me'” (Luke 14:18, 19). They neglect heaven (the wedding feast) in pursuit of material things.

Value the things that provide you shelter and feed you, but do not overvalue them. “For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:32, 33).

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By Mark N. Lardas. Copyright © 2008 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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