“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Matthew 6:19-21, ESV).
As a kid, there were many things I wanted. Badly.
Back then catalogs were still common and we had a variety stored in the coat closet. J C Penney. Sears. Montgomery Wards. All the big names. Near Christmas or my birthday, I would take the most recent into my room and circle what I wanted.
Initially, nearly everything I marked was in the toy section. Slot car sets. The latest plastic armaments. Mr. Machine. As I got older, my wishing moved up to stereos, a guitar, and even clothes. I really wanted, for a time, a Nehru jacket.
Beyond catalog offerings, there were those perennial larger longings. Like moving to a house in the country where I could have a horse and a bigger room. Getting a car of my own, hopefully a convertible.
Being a Cub and then Boy Scout, there was also the desire -- and practical need -- for such things as hatchets, compasses, and the like.
One year for my birthday, dad surprised me with the exact official Scout knife I desired. I was so excited. Until I heard the conditions that came with it. I couldn’t take possession of the knife until I’d earned certain merit badges. I was crestfallen, but at the same time determined to do what I needed to do.
It took a few months, but I met his conditions and won the knife. I treasured it. For at least a couple of weeks. I appreciated having it, wearing it proudly on my belt at campouts. It was cool. But when it came to doing what needed to be done to keep it sharp and rust-free, well, the words “neglect” and “lazy” might be appropriate.
So what happened? I really desired that knife. Why didn’t I treasure it once I received it? Because my true heart was revealed. The point to having the knife was to be cool among my Scout friends, especially those who already had knives. But once possessed, there were many other things I didn’t have that also seemed to offer an aura of coolness.
I still have that knife and I do treasure it. It was put to good use. But no matter how hard I tried, I could never keep it sharp. At least not as sharp as my dad could.
My dad grew up on a farm in Kentucky. For him and his peers, having a knife in your pocket was a must. Even as an adult he owned several and always carried one. I’ve got several of them now. They’re all still sharp! Dad had a knack with the whetstone I could never get the hang of.
Do I treasure the knives? Yes! But in reality, the knives are merely symbols of what I truly treasure. My dad was my treasure. Then I had him with me. Today I have memories of him. An avalanche of which can be let loose merely seeing one of his knives.
As an adult, there are a few things I want. Badly. I’d love to have dad back. I mourn each time I realize he’s gone. But at least I have a treasure trove of memories that I sort through regularly, that can’t rust, be moth-eaten, or stolen.
What are you treasuring?
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