Recently I talked to a friend after an auctioneer sold his family's material possessions. The objective of this type of auction is to dispose of the estate. Late in the day there are some incredible "bargains." For family members, it is often a time of unique grief.

Why? Piece by piece, chair by chair, plate by plate you watch a lifetime disappear. It is as though a huge eraser removes the marriage of your parents, removes your childhood, and removes your immediate family's history. Things accumulated through a whole lifetime of living disappear in one afternoon. Late in the day the auctioneer begs anyone to make an offer on things that are priceless in your memories, but of little "real" value to anyone else. Amazed, you note how little money a lifetime of accumulations is worth. The value is cheap. The "real" evaporates. When the sun sets, all is gone.

What do you have that someone would want? Your vehicles? Your house? Your furniture? Your "prized" possessions? Maybe now. What about 10, 15, 25 years from now? In time, how many of your "prized" possessions will be "prized" only by you? Are you not amazed when you realize "memories" are the principle ingredient of a "prized" possession? Take away the memories, and many priceless "prizes" have little value. "Prizes" are best shared with memories still attached. To the one with an attached memory, it is priceless. To the one without an attached memory, there is little value.

I hope your most valuable things are not material. I hope the most "prized" qualities of your life have little to do with what you own. I hope prized memories are about you and not about your possessions. I hope the most valued qualities of your life include compassion, mercy, kindness, respect, consideration, fairness, and gentleness. I hope the most valued qualities in your life are rooted in your faith in God and Christ. I hope the thing you have that others most admire and desire is your faith.

Consider this wondrous quality of faith: the more you share it the more you have. Your faith in God and Christ is never diminished by sharing it with someone else. When you share it, it becomes no less valuable, no less "prized" by you. In fact, the more you share it, the closer you come to God and Christ.

Sunday is a day for sharing. In the first century, the most powerful influence that initially attracted others to those who belonged to Christ was their sense of community. We want visitors to see that we have and share something special: a sense of community taught to us by Jesus Christ. May it be obvious to everyone that we care and love. May they feel our caring and love by being with us. May our desire to share our caring and love be obvious. May it be obvious that Jesus Christ taught us to be that kind of people.

May the value of your faith be seen. May others want to find what you found in Jesus Christ. May your faith in Jesus be the most valuable thing you possess.

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 6 May 2001

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