1 Timothy 6:17-19 (ESV)
17 As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. 18 They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, 19 thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.
Today’s reading from 1 Timothy brings to mind for me the recent hurricanes. The images of total destruction and devastation were heart wrenching. To see the buildings and cars and personal possessions strewn about brought tears to my eyes. I have been to Key West, St. Thomas, and St. Martin and to think of the loss of life there in these places that were so vibrant and full of life is so sad. We have family and friends who live in Florida and survived Hurricane Irma. My sister-in-law told us how they rode out the storm at her daughter’s home in central Florida. She left her mobile home for a more permanent structure. As they were hunkered down in the hallway listening to windows breaking and the roof being torn off the house she prayed. Not for the house (although I’m sure she was hoping it didn’t collapse on them) but for them. She prayed for them to be safe and make it through the storm. When it was all over they took stock of the damage. Windows gone, back door gone, most of the roof gone and trees down, but they were safe. God had answered her prayer and brought them safely through the storm.
The survivors of Irma and Harvey all have similar stories to tell, but they all say the same thing—“It’s just stuff.” We can rebuild. We have our lives and that is what matters most. They did not pray to God to save their stuff, they prayed to save their lives. That is what cannot be replaced, no matter how wealthy you are. Don’t get so caught up in your wealth and good fortune that you forget about others. Let’s hope that it doesn’t take a disaster for us to realize that praying for wealth or stuff is not what God wants us to do. Praying for each other is.
By the way, the mobile home made it through the storm with no damage. She is back home but still has no power. She, along with so many others, are taking it day by day. They are missing what is gone, but so thankful for what is left!
Dear Lord, as we take stock of what we have, let us not boast in our riches and material possessions, but rather praise you for the life we have in Christ. Amen.
Written by Terri Harms—Preschool Director of Daily Operations firstname.lastname@example.org