For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
— Matthew 6:21
My family laughs at me sometimes, because they know I like to save things. I am by no means a hoarder, though. I only save what is meaningful.
My children are grown, but I still have their school records, crafts, paintings, little notes, photos, cards, gifts, and more. I try to organize my treasures, but admittedly, there are still boxes to sort and to (one day) organize into scrapbooks and shadow boxes.
And then there are my Bible treasures. I have two Bibles. One large study one with the pink case. I usually keep that one at home and then my black-cased smaller one, I take to church. In both I keep more meaningful treasures. Funeral cards tucked inside. Notes and pictures from grandchildren, letters from students, Sunday school papers given to me. Thank you cards, sermon notes, bookmarks, cards of encouragement, student lists for Sunday school, telephone numbers, and yes, many more funeral cards.
I make it a habit Sunday mornings, with my ‘church Bible,’ to go through the items in there, while I wait for the service to start, to think about and to pray for those whose treasure I unearth. Then if I felt I was ready, I would transfer the cards or other items to my pink case when I got home.
A good system. For a while. But soon my lovely pink-zippered Bible case was overflowing. I decided it was time to do something. I had a plan.
People love to give me journals. I love to journal. (I have photo boxes of ‘completed and saved’ journals in my office, but that’s another story!) I rooted through my unused journals and I found one. It was a lovely navy book with a large compass depicted on the front and directly underneath it was a title—Trust Your Navigator—followed by a scripture reference: Jeremiah 29:11. I looked it up. For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." It was perfect.
I removed all my treasures from my Bible and case. I placed them carefully into a photo box. Then one by one, as part of my bedtime devotional routine, I would remove one item at a time and then I would write my memory along with a little prayer.
My bedtime ritual became something I anticipated with joy and excitement. God was reminding me of a different kind of treasure. As I scribbled down words in my journal I suddenly became so much more aware of the love God had poured into my life and the people he put in my path. My ‘documenting’ turned into a gratitude journal. And then my gratitude journal turned into a love project that still excites me.
As I looked back, I found affirmation in this entry. My treasure? A little piece of green paper containing a blessing. It had been attached to a prayer shawl that someone made for me:
"During my cancer and subsequent chemotherapy treatments, I received a beautiful prayer shawl. What a quiet privilege it was to receive such a gift. God, thanks for wrapping me in Your love through the kindness and generosity of your servants. May I always be reminded that my plans are not always the same as Yours, but I have great comfort knowing that others are praying for me and You care. May my plans include a way to pass on Your sweet joy."
I am listening, Lord …