Sometimes lessons about what is most important in life come in the form of signs.
Not miraculous signs from God like the pillar of smoke or the parting of the Red Sea that the Israelites witnessed. Not like the disciples watching Jesus being transfigured on a mountain. But, a sign in the most mundane of forms.
“Auction: Sold to the Highest Bidder”
The house two down from ours was recently full of life. Now it and its contents sit in wait for a bevvy of bidders. The elderly couple who own it are in their late 80s. They would slowly walk past my house holding hands in the evenings up until last year (my heart melted when I saw them). The husband used to take great pride in mowing his yard when we first moved in, much like my own husband does. But as of late, I would see him on the back porch just looking over his own lawn, perhaps aching to once again cultivate and manicure the somewhat overgrown yard. Now they are both in a nursing home. Their corner house—the one with mature blooming rose bushes on the north side and abundant daffodil bulbs lying dormant in the front yard—along with most of their furniture and the lawn equipment have tags on them. They will sell to the highest bidder.
Every time I walk by the auction sign with my squirrely kids in the stroller, I ache a bit for these people I don’t really know. And I mourn for what I imagine may be my own fate someday. It reminds me of a life-changing truth that I want to remember all the days of my life that God gives me.
“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 6:19-21
This sign in my life provides a wake up call, seeming to say…
Rachel, don’t love this house. Don’t treasure these walls that your kids color on and put dents in. Don’t place your hope in your bank account. Don’t you dare think your ultimate satisfaction lies in your next vacation. Or the next success at work. Or being in shape. Or having all the laundry finally done.
All these things will be gone soon. Many of them will go to the highest bidder. And, what then? Are you living for what God says counts most?
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things (what you truly need) will be given to you as well.” – Matthew 6:28-33 (my own note in italics)
Seek first after what God loves. Place your highest bid on God’s promises. Lay your chips down on what He says will last.
“’Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.’” – Matthew 22:36-39
Do this, Rachel, and you may still mourn when your life is up for auction. But you will not mourn without hope.
Jesus is your hope. Don’t ever get past that. He died for you and your contorted view of what’s important. He died for you and your tendency to look for satisfaction in what can’t deliver. He died for your selfishness, greed, and all the other ugly sins you don’t want anyone to see. And he rose again, defeating death and sin forever. He died and rose to give you a new and eternally satisfying life.
So, love God. Love others. Don’t stop asking Jesus to help you do that more and more each day, Rachel. And, when the auction sign goes up in your life, look forward to the entire eternity that awaits you with all the treasures of heaven–the chief one being Jesus.