Friday, October 14, 2011

Go, Sailboat, Go!

“The sailboat will be the last thing to go.”  That was my wife’s and my commitment as we went through some very difficult financial times.  I lost my job, we had just bought a house, our second child was three months old, and one of our two cars was leased.  As the cards slowly fell on the table, I realized that ownership of my wonderful 26’ sloop was about to get transferred.  I’ll never forget the day I towed it to the new owner.  While financial wisdom was swirling all around us, our eyes were on antiques, traveling, and sailboats.  Five years into our marriage, my wife and I were flat broke.  We were so in debt and had so little income, even the crisis credit counselors turned us away (no foolin’!).  Yes, the word “foolish” does come to mind.

Maybe if we had listened to a word from our Sponsor, we’d have been better off: 
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  (Matthew 6:19-21)
It is very difficult to live in this world and not want the things of the world or measure your success by the things this world offers.  We are also addicted to immediate gratification and the thrill of “the new”.  One of our sons worked at ToysRUs over a Christmas one season.  He was trained to offer parents breakage and loss coverage for the toys.  One dad said, “No I don’t want the insurance.  The toy will break in six months and then my son will get something new that he’ll enjoy.”  This dad was actually betting on getting no value for his money.  I told my son we should start a business - if your toy hasn’t broken in 6 months, we’ll come to your house and break it for you.

Some people like to point out that Jesus was successful without owning property or personal possessions other than His clothes.  Jesus, Himself, said “the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head” (Luke 9:58).  But Jesus frequently stayed with close friends who owned property (Luke 10:38) and he frequently accepted invitations to banquets in the homes of wealthy persons (Luke 7:36).  Jesus even affirmed paying taxes which are a result of earning income (Matthew 22:21).  So let’s not make Jesus out to be some Marxist socialist.  What set Jesus apart, and what will set followers of Jesus apart, is that He didn’t love worldly junk – that’s not where His heart was. 

Many, many times my family has watched me bust into the house exclaiming, “I’m rich in the way of the world.”  They know that I have just bought a carload of something we can actually use at 85% off.  They also know that my wife and I do not (now) waste our income.  We are shrewd stewards of our worldly possessions and income and we look forward to the time when it all goes away – to be replaced by true, heartfelt treasure.

PS: Another son is catching on to all this – or at least the idea of it.  Check out Joshua's band Stop Thief - "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly."  (John 10:10)

Clark H Smith

ps - I'd love to hear from you.  What's your experience with being "rich in the way of the world"?  Ever been stone broke?  And while you're at it, would you mind to click the Facebook or Twitter icon just below and share Follow Illustrated with someone.  THANKS!

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