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I am not overly concerned about things. Ironically, of the things I do possess, two that I would be reluctant to lose are my wallet and my checkbook. Not because of their contents. If a thief were to demand my money or credit cards, I would hand them over, without hesitation. Rather it is the items themselves – the leather wallet and checkbook cover. 

Why? My sons made them for me. My youngest does leatherworking and tooled the exteriors. My middle son stitched the pieces together with braiding. I value these items because of this, not because of what they contain. They represent hours of time that my sons took out of their lives to honor me.

My sons came by this habit honestly. My wife and I frequently give hand-made gifts. My sons have quilts made by their mother. One Christmas, when my children and my nieces and nephews were all young, my wife and I made sock monkeys for all of them. Frequently, before they could read, I gave a book as a birthday present. They were accompanied by a recording of my reading of the book, to which they could listen as they turned the pages. (I even told them when to turn the page.)

Loved to Death

Simple gifts, yes. But the toys that we gave were kept and played with even after that year’s hot electronic gadget was forgotten. The sock monkeys – and other similar toys – were all eventually loved to death. The recordings of books were played so much that eventually you could barely make out the words over the hissing of worn tape.  

The quilts are still cherished possessions of my sons, folded and stored in their closets, even though some are badly worn. But throw them away? There is no way that they would. Similarly, I have a decades-old sweater vest knitted by my wife that is too badly worn to wear, which hangs in my closet.

In Matthew 6:19-20 Christ warns “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.” But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

For my sons, my wife, and I, it is not the monetary worth that makes us cherish things. Rather, we cherish things that were made for us by someone who loved us, and who took time to show that love through an act of creation. These treasures will ultimately fall victim to moth and rust, but the underlying love that created lives on beyond them. If there is real value in anything it is the value imparted through family ties and friendship.

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By Mark N. Lardas. Copyright © 2009 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®.

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