"So, what are your treasured possessions?"
I don't remember how the conversation started. But, I clearly recall the question my husband asked me, on our Colorado road trip, as we crossed the majestically beautiful Continental Divide.
It's a question the Lord keeps bringing up in my life, in the most random places. Like a few weeks later, when a homeless man bumped into me on a metro train in Los Angeles. I apologized for taking up two seats with my faux "Brighton" suitcase and computer backpack. His beaming smile caught me off guard, as he then apologized to me, "No, no! It's all my fault for not watching where I was going."
He settled himself in the seat across from me, carefully placing a large plastic bag between his legs, and hugging a tote bag close to his chest. He carried nothing but his bags filled with empty bottles and cans, an old cell phone, and a tattered paperback novel. After he was situated, he looked at me with his radiant smile and announced, "Aren't we so blessed?"
As the train headed towards L.A.'s Union Station, we talked about God's goodness and blessings. Not because of our possessions, but because of another day to be alive. Another day with breath in our lungs. Another day to tell others how much Jesus loves them. Then before I knew it, he was gathering his meager belongings to exit the car. But before he stepped out, my new friend turned to me with shining eyes and said again, "Aren't we blessed? We are still here today to tell people about the love of God, and that Jesus is coming soon."
With that he was gone, leaving me totally humbled and incredibly blessed! Without a doubt, I knew I had been in the presence of a great saint! Maybe even an angel. And, I was reminded that God looks on the heart. He is not concerned with the luggage we tote, or the clothes we wear, or the riches we do or do not possess.
Days later, God challenged me again about my treasured possessions. As I walked along the bay, I noticed a homeless women foraging through a trash can. Her hair was matted, her clothes soiled, and she mumbled as I passed her on the boardwalk.
I was startled when I heard her yell, "I have something to say to you!" I slowly turned, a little afraid of what I might be getting myself into. But, she was turning away from me saying, "Never mind. You don't care what I have to say."
She was wrong. I did care. And, I told her so. Then, she hissed at me, "I bet you love those pretty rings on your hands, more than you love your fingers."
"No, I don't." I genuinely answered her.
"Then, take them off and throw them into the ocean." she scowled, as she walked away.
Unnerved by her challenge, I continued my walk along the embarcadero. And, I contemplated our conversation. There was no doubt my fingers were of much more value than any ring. Yet, I did love my rings. Not because of any monetary value, as the woman accused me. But, because each one was a gift to me. The rings from my husband, a symbol of the covenant of our love and marriage. Plus, a ring from a friend. A gift that reminds me others are watching the way I live my life.
"What are my treasured possessions?" This question continues to haunt me. I explained to my husband, it's not the few precious items we own that were passed down to us from one generation to another. I was reminded on the metro-link in Los Angeles, it is not the luggage I tote or the type of phone I carry. And, I decided on my walk by the bay, it is not the rings on my fingers or any monetary value others may assume they possess.
I have pondered this question a lot, and I have come up with two "possessions" that I truly treasure. It's the answer I gave my husband as we crossed the Continental Divide. And, it's the answer that was solidified in my heart on the metro-link in Los Angeles. Then, confirmed again during my walk by the bay. I treasure people. And, I treasure words.
As I close, I pray my words have been a blessing to you, dear one. And, I am reminded of Jesus words to us all, "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."