“Thing-finding”


“Then he told them this story: “The farm of a certain rich man produced a terrific crop. He talked to himself: ‘What can I do? My barn isn’t big enough for this harvest.’ Then he said, ‘Here’s what I’ll do: I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll gather in all my grain and goods, and I’ll say to myself, Self, you’ve done well! You’ve got it made and can now retire. Take it easy and have the time of your life!’

Just then God showed up and said, ‘Fool! Tonight you die. And your barnful of goods—who gets it?’

That’s what happens when you fill your barn with Self and not with God.” (Luke 12:13-21)

One of my favorite memories of elementary school was when they had special assemblies. It was at one of these assemblies that I fell completely in love with a girl named Pippi Longstocking. Not the newer Pippi movies, but the older ones where they do the voice over because it’s in Norwegien. The Pippi that knew no boundaries, did her own hair, ate what she pleased, and followed her own set of social boundaries. That Pippi. I fell madly in love with her. I wanted to be just like her.

So a few years ago, I found the Pippi movies on Netflix for my girls. And of course, they too fell in love with her wacky and wonderful free spirit. So then I got the books to read. One chapter stood out to me because, in reality, Charis is really Pippi. Seriously, the girl is a free spirit. Social boundaries, what social boundaries? She would wear a bathing suit to school if I didn’t set out her clothes. And she would eventually make it down to school if I let her walk, but the five minute walk would take her several hours because something would interest her along the way and completely distract her.

But in this particular chapter, Pippi invites her friends to go “thing-finding” with her. She talks about all the little nick-nacks you can find when you go looking.

The interesting thing about this chapter is that this “thing-finding” past-time is also Charis’ favorite past time. Every few months Charis’ teachers send a bag home full of the treasures Charis has found on the floor of the school, out on the playground, etc. If the teacher is throwing it away, Charis will regularly retrieve it from the garbage to bring home.

Now Meleah does this too. I’m not sure if Charis has taught her this past-time or If most children do this. But Meleah has taken to getting on her hands and knees to look for “gems” on the floor at the dollar store. Once, Charis was digging under the shelves and cut her finger. The manager got us a band-aid, and I loved it when she told the girls….”anything on the floor is yours.” Lovely, like I don’t find enough treasures in the laundry already?

What is it about “stuff?” From an early age we are smitten with the accumulation of stuff. The girls just love anything that’s glittery or bright. Even Elijah loves to find money on the floor.

I heard someone describe their future plans for retirement like this “we plan to live high on the hog.”

I’m not bashing planning for retirement. That’s a sensible thing to do. But what good are we doing hoarding things?

John Wesley once said “make all you can, save all you can, give all you can.” I think that was the order anyway.

We try to fill our desires with things that make us happy. We become treasure hunters rather than God Hunters.

What are you filling your self with today? Is it little treasures that don’t add up to much or are you filling the void with more of God.

Pippi was fun. But the sad thing really, about Pippi, was that she had lots of fun, lots of treasures, lots of great treasures, but no mom and dad. Her dad was a sailor at Sea and she had no supervision. That sounds really fun as a kid, but in reality, it’s sad and scary to be alone in the world.

What “things” or “treasures” are you filling up in your life today that only God can fill?

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