The Stuff We Cherish

stuffAn elderly man was laying on his deathbed at home. He called his wife to his side to give final instructions for when he passed. “Martha,” he said (I don’t know why ‘Martha’ always takes the wife’s role in these things.) “Before I die, go to the shed and get that large jug with the big handles and put all my money in it. Then put it in the attic above my bed so I can grab it on the way up.”

So Martha did just that, carefully placing the jug directly above his bed. When he died, Martha scrambled up the ladder to the attic, only to find the jug was still sitting exactly where she placed it. Frustrated, she said, “Maybe I should’ve put it in the basement!”

Isn’t it funny how we all know that we can’t take it with us, but we find ourselves piling up “stuff” as we go through life?


Money, property, houses cars, you name it – It all stays here when we check out at the end. The Grim Reaper gets 100 % of his focus group and there will be no hearse in the funeral procession.

Many live like an unknown author said, “He who dies with the most toys wins.” But the “stuff” that we think our kids will cherish and enjoy? It’s going in the attic after we pass, and then one day it will be pulled down, dusted off and placed in a garage sale. One man’s treasure is another man’s junk, you know.

And the land that you pass along to the inheritors? They will get tired of paying taxes, mowing and maintaining it, the economy will go south and they will parcel it out for some cold cash.

stuff2Now, that’s kind of harsh, I know and maybe extreme. But there is more truth there than most of us would prefer to admit. Let’s get real; we charge through life as if we are invincible, sometimes never stopping to consider the obvious and serious matters.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe that we should live life to the fullest and enjoy the blessings that are ours. But we must not take our blessings for granted and heap them on our selfish selves, hoarding and never considering others around us and what tomorrow might bring.

I encourage all of us to be generous and use what we have in providing for and benefiting our families and others as we recognize needs. We can always reevaluate priorities, take some time, do things a little differently and be a blessing to someone else.

It is difficult in our culture of greed to remember and live by what Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than receive.” But I know many people who live by this standard and are the happiest people I know. They get such a charge out of helping others and especially when it is anonymous.

I say, let’s put that principle in practice and see what we are missing. The people that live life this way will tell you they do not fear running out of resources. I believe it was J C Penny that once said, in effect, that he couldn’t out give God. A generous heart is always the fulfilled heart.

Yes, giving is always good, no matter if you consider yourself religious, agnostic or staunch atheist. The principle works for everyone. Give it a try and see what comes back to you.


And for those that are looking to the spiritual and eternal aspect, when you give you are living in accordance with another of Jesus’ statements, “Lay up your treasure in Heaven, where thieves, rust or moths will never destroy them.” And we might also add, where insensitive relatives can’t get to it!