Everything I’ve Ever Worked For

hearsepullinguhaul“You can’t take it with you.” How often we hear this phrase, usually as a reminder not to be so materialistic. In our consumption-obsessed society, this is a much-needed adage.

But lately, I’ve been rethinking the truth of these words. We can’t take it with us. Or can we?

Contemplating our eventual demise isn’t the cheeriest of topics, and most of us prefer to avoid thinking along those lines. But something I saw recently brought the same concept to a more immediate importance.

I was watching a news report about a family that had lost all their possessions in a fire. When interviewed, the father kept repeating the line, “I’ve lost everything I’ve ever worked for.” Yet he was standing next to his wife and children, who had miraculously survived the disaster. It made me wonder where he placed his priorities. What had he been working for? Was he working to love his family? Or to pile up possessions?

This incident made me consider: if my home burned down today, and I was unable to salvage anything… what would I have lost?

Clearly, I’d have lost my house. But I consider my house a gift from God, on loan for my use as long as He determines. I’d have lost all my clothing, my furnishings. Those can be replaced. (And I wonder how much of that I actually need.)

Sure, much of what fills my house is loaded with memories—the batik hung over the couch came from a trip to India, my dad made the “antique” coffee table, and my husband made the dining room table. But even without the objects, I’d still have the memories.

We’d have lost the originals of many of our family photographs. That would probably be the most significant hurt, so I’ve actually taken steps to scan the most important pictures and share them with other family members.

It would be sad, and definitely inconvenient, for our house to burn to the ground. But as I considered the implications, I realized that I would lose very little of what I’ve ever worked for.

The joke about never seeing a hearse with a U-haul may be stale, but it’s true. We can’t take material things with us. But we can take people. In fact, people are the only “things” that we can take with us to heaven.

So while I don’t expect my hearse to be towing a U-haul, I am investing in people, in the hope and expectation that I will be seeing them again. I’m storing up the people I treasure in Heaven.

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