Yesterday Norma Jean and I had a rather unsettling experience at Dallas Love Field on the way to Nashville. While waiting in line to go through security I looked at her and said, “Where’s the camera case?”
“I thought you had it,” she replied. “I put it on the seat by you in the shuttle.”
“No, I don’t have it. I thought you had it.”
Now I was wondering, did we leave it on the van? Or at baggage check in? Or maybe where the shuttled dropped us off?
Hurried and harried I ran retracing our steps, but did not find the missing camera. Frantic calls were made to security and the hotel were the shuttle originated. Finally 30 minutes later I received a call that a very kind shuttle driver found the camera case and was bringing it back to the airport.
It was a wonderful marital test in remaining calm. Not assigning blame. Or hurling hurtful accusations.
But it also reminded me again of what I value.
The camera, a Cannon EOS Rebel, was only 3 months old. In the case were all the lens, attachments and other items of value. But that was not what bothered me.
All I could think about were the many pictures on the disk. Pictures of our grandsons Miles and Roy when they visited us in August. Our anniversary pictures on our Alaskan cruise. And the party pictures of Roy and Miles second birthday.
You see, although painful to lose something of monetary value, the camera could be replaced. But not the pictures. They represent relationships. People who are important in my life. Pleasant memories. Shared experiences. Once in a life-time events. Expressions of joy, surprise and wonderment.
The sickening, sinking feeling that the record of those special events and experiences were lost was very painful. But thankfully short lived. A couple of spiritual thoughts regarding values came to my mind.
(1) The soul is more valuable than all of earth’s treasures.
Jesus said, “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?
Just like the pictures in my camera are more valuable than the camera itself, so is the soul more valuable than one’s fleshly life. But often do we put more emphasis and place more value on the material instead of the spiritual.
Are you more interested the value of your financial portfolio than the people in your life?
Are you more concerned about a loss in the market than lost souls around you? Is your focus more on the college education of your children than their Bible instruction?
(2) Rejoicing naturally follows find what has been lost.
I couldn’t help but think of the trilogy of Jesus’ parables in Luke 15. The lost sheep. The lost coin. And the lost son. In each of the three cases rejoicing followed the recovery of that which was lost.
Specifically I thought of the woman who lost a material possession–a coin. Jesus said she carefully searched for it. Called friends and neighbors to find it. When she found the coin her called her friend and exclaimed, “Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost!’
Then Jesus added, “Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
Believe me I was calling, searching and scouring the airport for my camera. When it was returned I rejoiced with and showed appreciation to the shuttle driver. When I arrived back at the gate Norma Jean and I rejoiced.
May we (I) be as joyous about a sinner who comes to Christ.
This episode reminded me again of what I really value. Think about it. What do you value?
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman