When I married my husband, I became a part of his extended family. We lived next door to his parents and his grandmother who lived with them. Olivia was his grandmother. By the time that I met her, she was a sweet elderly lady with the beginnings ofAlzheimer She had broken her hip and could no longer live in her own home alone, so her house was locked up and her car sold. She had a small room at my in-laws with a few pieces of her own furniture and belongings.
I never thought about the home that sat empty in town until after she died. After she passed away, it was necessary to sell her home and split the proceeds between her children. They all had homes of their own and didn’t want or need to move into Olivia’s home.
We loaded up with boxes and set out to sort through her belonging and pack everything up in preparations of selling the house. As we started in the first room, an overwhelming sense of sadness just flooded me. This lady and her husband had worked years to pay for this house to provide a home for their family. They had boxes of photographs and keepsakes that meant enough to them that they saved them. Olivia had dishes that were used for special events. She had silver sets and china that she only used for her church lady’s lunches, dishes that were only used for holidays, she had things that she had inherited from her mother that you could see that she cherished.
Most of these belongings would be sold or packed away forgotten in an attic. No one wanted them. Photos that meant enough to Olivia that she displayed them on her wall were trashed because no one knew who those people were.
This just haunted me. Someone else would be using Olivia’s things, someone else would be living in this home that she had worked so hard to pay for and to make comfortable for her family. I felt such grief!
I finally realized that what was bothering me was that I was putting myself in Olivia’s place. Is this what would happen when I grew old? Would my husband and I work for years to pay off our home and acquire treasures that one day would be sold to the highest bidder? If that was the case, at what point do I stop acquiring these things? What was the point?
God allowed me to wallow for a little while on these thoughts. Then, He brought some scriptures to my mind that gave me some perspective.
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.
Matthew 6:31-33 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you
There is nothing wrong with having nice things, providing a home for yourself and your family. There is nothing sinful in handing down memories to your children in the form of earthly treasures. The sin comes when you lead your life with this treasure storing as your main goal. The sin comes when you give more time and attention to earthly treasure and neglect storing up treasures in heaven.
I had the wrong perspective. That will happen every time you take your eyes off of Jesus. Now, I am happy that someone is making use of those things that meant something to Olivia. Olivia was a Godly woman, so I have no doubt that she is in heaven with all of Gods riches, I do not think she misses her china or that she resents a stranger using them. Her real legacy was the example she set for her family and the obedience she gave to her Lord. That’s the legacy that I want to leave.