So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is
temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
~ 2 Corinthians 4:18 (NIV)
I held the threadbare book gently in my hands, taking in the aroma of its age. Slowly, I turned the pages to look at it one more time. The dedication page. The back cover with a familiar signature written as a confession of faith. I held the book close to my heart, then gently kissed it good-bye as I wrapped it and tied a bow around it.
The book was my father’s Service Prayer Book from WWII. I found it on his bedside table after he passed away in 2004. He had still been using it after all those years. The little book had been with him on convoy duty in the North Atlantic. And now it would be going to Afghanistan with a young man who had always held a special place in Daddy’s heart. I confess it was hard to give it up. Yet, I could feel Daddy’s smile of approval from heaven and lifted a special prayer to God for this young man’s protection.
How tightly we hold on to our earthly possessions. We want to be good stewards and use them wisely. But we also need to hold them loosely. No matter how sentimental they might be—like an old prayer book—they are still only temporary things here on this earth. God gives us all things to enjoy; but He blesses us with these things so that we become a conduit for His blessings to flow through us to others. We can enjoy them but not “worship” them or allow them to become an “idol” in our lives.
It seems we often need to be reminded that the best things in life are not things. A hug from a friend. A smile when we are lonely. Laughter. A sunrise bursting on the horizon with the joy of a new day. Or a sunset and its multi-colored array of peace and serenity. Freedom to worship, bear arms, vote. And most importantly, all the eternal riches we receive through God’s goodness and grace in Jesus Christ.
The riches we hold in our hearts, not in our hands, are the riches worth holding on to.
With praise to the Lord for bringing Justin home safely from Afghanistan.
With 4th of July thanks to all current military personnel, veterans, and first responders for preserving our freedom through their sacrifice.
And with prayers for the families of the nineteen Arizona firefighters who gave their lives protecting others’ lives and property.
Linda Veath Cox is a regular contributor to DivineDetour. She recently retired after twenty-five years as a district office secretary for the State of Illinois. Her first loves are studying the Bible and reading, but she occasionally tries her hand at writing. Her work is published in All My Bad Habits I Learned from Grandpa (Thomas Nelson),The One-Year Life Verse Devotional (Tyndale), Life Lessons from Grandparents (Write Integrity), Love Is a Verb (a devotional from Bethany House), and Chicken Soup for the Soul’s I Can’t Believe My Dog Did That. She lives in a small town in the Midwest with the “Bone Mafia,” her two indoor/outdoor mutts.