“Sarah, I’m looking for a copy of…”
I stood in the door of her office surveying the stacks of folders and papers on counters. Random books and office supplies were scattered throughout the room.
“No problem. I think I put it…”
She opened a cupboard where another pile greeted her. She quickly ran her finger halfway down and extracted a green folder.
“Here it is!”
Sarah’s cluttered office was legendary. It was also the treasure trove of just about everything anyone needed.
An expert on organization and orderliness has a mantra: get rid of anything that you don’t need any longer so you can truly cherish the important things that remain. Especially discard everything that is in the back of a cupboard or deep in a drawer. Certainly, you’ve forgotten them, so how can they be anything you truly treasure?
But what if the reason that treasure was buried so deeply was to be sure it wasn’t accidentally tossed out or given away? When you see it, you think long and hard before impulsively tossing it into the give-away pile.
When my mother-in-law downsized from her home into an apartment, she and I had lots of items to sort through together. The kitchen and household things were easily divided into the keep and give-away piles. But then came those things tucked away high on shelves or deep in drawers. Oh, those were her treasures!
What if we applied this rule, this orderliness command, to the individuals around us? If we took the mandate to discard everyone who has outlived their purpose, we would be the cruelest of people! We would forget what we value the most about them. Not what they can contribute to our lives, but how we can serve them and value what our Lord Jesus does: their hearts. Even when their usefulness, their outward beauty and charms have vanished, we can remind them they are still cherished, they are still treasured, they still have value, they are still who they are!
“Treasures are the people, those who need, those in need.” This comment in a church bulletin asked the congregation to view helping people not as an obligation but as a treasure. It made me think: Do I treasure people, especially those in need? Didn’t God treasure us in our needs when He sent His son? Doesn’t He remind us how much we are blessed, treasured, favored, and protected when we mourn or when we are persecuted and insulted? (Matthew 5:3,4,11).
How many times have I heard or even said, “I needed them as much as they needed me?” Do we treasure one another? Are we putting “great value” on the people in our church, our company, our family? Are they blessed because of our protection and concern?
Are we also putting a high value on what our Lord Jesus treasures in us? Sometimes we spend so much time on what we or other people see, we fail to dig deep into that drawer of our lives to what is hidden or forgotten: our inner self, the “hidden person of the heart… which in God’s sight is very precious” (1 Peter 3:4 RSV). That’s our true treasure: our hearts.
Unfortunately, we don’t always treasure our hearts, our spirit. Sometimes our spiritual life is a cluttered mess or even a total chaos. We make excuses for the clutter or claim we can always find something of true value if we really need it. We think it’s easy enough to fix our focus. We can even hire someone to do it for us!
But my heart isn’t like a room or a house or an office. When my spirit is a cluttered mess, I’m the one who needs to look again at the things I treasure, the things I use my time and talents and money for and ask myself, “What is their true value?”
And those times when spiritual chaos rains down on me because of what someone has done or said or because of what I’ve done or said, it’s my inner self that needs help. That’s when I push aside everything that doesn’t matter and give myself and my heart over to the forgiveness and blessings of my Lord Jesus. That’s when I rediscover my true value.
If I’m serious about the clutter that’s covering up, hiding, even burying my spirit, that heart that is so precious to my Lord Jesus, I will come to Him. Because He’s the One who takes away the wasteful use of my time and resources and gives true purpose to my life. He’s the One who takes away the shame of my choices and lays a new, joyful path before me.
Add Lead Like Jesus Revisited as a treasure to your collection.