Of earthly trash and heavenly treasure

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One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, or so the secular proverb usually goes, but apparently the reverse is also true: one person’s treasure is another person’s trash, or so my mother and I recently found out.

We cleaned out parts of her and my now-sainted father’s garage and his shop, finding some things as he left them before his earthly death, now more than four years ago, although the accumulation of dust and varmint damage probably was more recent.

My father was quite handy and saved assorted odds and ends that he might use in various projects, and my mother and I wanted to donate to Habitat ReStore and other such agencies whatever they would take, recycle as much as we could, and take to the dump only whatever was left in the end. When the person at the first stop basically told us to take everything to the dump, we were a little shocked and disappointed, and I am sure my father would have been, too.

Other people may have regarded it as trash, but my father’s real treasure was in heaven, where spiders and chipmunks do not break in and web-over or destroy things (Matthew 6:19-21). By the saving power of the Holy Spirit, my father trusted God to forgive his sins by grace on account of Jesus Christ’s death on the cross and resurrection from the grave. And, we do likewise, regularly receiving God’s eternal gifts in the often-disregarded ways of the reading and preaching of His Word, Holy Baptism, individual Holy Absolution, and the Lord’s Supper.

Like others who mourn earlier or later earthly losses of loved ones, who live before the Lord (Luke 20:38), we continue to grieve, but not as those who have no hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13). We look forward both to our own deaths (or to the Lord’s final coming, whichever comes first) and to the resurrection of the body and the blessed reunion in heaven that will follow. Then, not only our hearts, but all of our bodies and souls will be there also, enjoying true heavenly treasure for eternity.

The Rev. Dr. Jayson S. Galler is Pastor of Pilgrim Lutheran Church in Kilgore. You can reach him through the congregation’s website: www.pilgrimlc.org.

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