"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (NIV) Matthew 6:21
About twenty years ago, my father said to my mother, "I want a truck." They had a car, they were retired, life was good - but Daddy wanted a truck. So off they went and he came home with this little Ford Ranger. It was all my dad wanted and needed, and he was happy. When it came to a choice of what car to use, Daddy always chose the truck. He and his pup would go everywhere in that truck - it made him happy.
When Daddy passed on over 15 years ago, Mom didn't know what to do with the truck, but she kept it. Maybe it was part out of need. I'm thinking it was mostly out of memories. I didn't blame her one bit. Yet, about a year after I married my true love, over eleven years ago, Mom passed the truck to Juan. The journey began. Juan treated this truck as if he had nurtured it himself. He, as well, would take it places. It became our family trademark. Most of the kids used it when they first learned to drive. It moved many children in and out of dorm rooms. It even moved one daughter into a couple of apartments. Not only did Daddy's dog see the inside of that truck, so did our own Duke. I think Duke loved the truck as much as Juan did. Over the past eleven years, my husband diligently brought that truck back to life - long after we thought it had seen its last day.
Two weeks ago, it finally happened - the day our family had been dreading. The "Granny Ranger", the "Put Put", or "Pop-Pop's truck" - the names our Ranger had been fondly known as, just died. There was no more CPR with this truck. The day had come. Tomorrow, the junk yard will come and take it away. It's time - my poor husband has put more sweat and tears into that truck. We are all sad to see this truck go. Each member of our family has a special memory with this truck. Whether any of us want to admit it or not, this little truck has been a treasure. No, it isn't fancy and it isn't high in monetary value, but it is a treasure. I think that was the reason why Juan worked so hard on it - it was a treasure.
I'm sure we all have those things in our lives - the ones that are true treasures. Maybe a beloved t-shirt of a concert you went to with a friend who has passed on. Maybe it is your great-grandmother's special pan or your grandfather's favorite tool. When the day comes for us to retire those treasures, it can be hard. We hold them in our hands a little longer, reliving the memories over and over. Sometimes it is very difficult for us to let go. Yet, we all have to remember something. Our treasures are not in the "things", our treasures are in our hearts.
What we really treasure are the memories that were created with those items. The laughs, the tears, the hopes, the dreams, the good times, and the sorrows - all of them connected to those earthly items. For many of us, saying goodbye to those earthly treasures may seem like we are saying goodbye to our loved ones - one more time. Let us remember, though, that the earthly treasures are no more than that - earthly. The treasures we hold in our hearts is where the true value is. Things come and go, objects come and go, but the memory of Duke sitting in the passenger seat of the truck, or me riding home from dropping off children at college with tears in my eyes, or me sitting next to my dad in that truck - those memories are tucked deep in my heart. Those memories aren't going anywhere!!
The next time we find ourselves having to say goodbye to an earthly treasure, may we be reminded that the real treasure is the memory that is sitting in our hearts. May we hold on to those memories even tighter than the special pan, favorite tool or old pick up truck. For memories are what can be cherished a lifetime.
"Dearest Lord, thank you for helping us to remember that our true treasures are in our hearts, not in earthly possessions. May the value that we find be that of scenes that pass through our minds, not value in an item. It is those treasures, God, that we know we can keep for eternity. In your name we pray. Amen!"