In 1984, I was teaching 5th grade in Madison, New Jersey. Two students stand out in my mind from that class. The first was a very good-looking, bright, popular boy named Blair. The other was Amy, a very sweet girl who was wheelchair bound due to spina bifida.
One of the writing assignments I gave that year was, “If you could be anybody in the world, who would it be and why?” I will never forget the responses of these two students.
Amy wrote that she would not want to be anyone but herself because she had a wonderful family who loved her and accepted her for who she was. Wow! She did not ask to be a famous athlete, or dancer, or someone who had full use of their legs. She was blessed, she said, by love.
Blair, amazingly, wrote that he would want to be Amy! The reason he wanted to be Amy was because her family had enough money to have a swimming pool in their backyard and an elevator in their house. (These were , of course, to help Amy with her mobility.)
At first, my reaction was to be shocked by such a response….even angry! But when I look more closely I wonder if I am so different from Blair! How often am I longing for material things instead of being thankful for the many blessings I have received from God.
I have been so blessed with the love of family, friends, and most importantly, God, who loves me so much that He gave His only Son to die for me!
How often have we seen a child beg for a new toy, and a day or two later it is all but forgotten and joins the collection of “had to haves” that are neglected in no time?
How many of us have had the enormous task of getting rid of the possessions accumulated over the lifetime of an elderly person who has died?
Obviously we do receive pleasure from our material belongings, but it is important that we get our priorities straight. As the old expression goes, “You can’t take it with you.” But God’s love is eternal.
I need constant reminding of the message of Matthew 6:19-21
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal, but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”