What Do You Put in Your Pocket?

LilliesThe Walmart lot where I had just parked my car didn’t look prone to thieves and the neighborhood didn’t look particularly bad. But I was being cautious. I don’t want this to get stolen, I said to myself. Don’t be silly, said another thought. Leave it in the car. My better angel won that round. I wouldn’t chance losing that old cassette tape. So I slipped it into the top pocket of my shirt, locked the car, and walked into the big box store in peace.

The tape was irreplaceable, as far as I knew. And not available on the Web. Losing it would mean losing the message. I just couldn’t bear the thought of that. It had been speaking to me at a deep level, and I knew it wasn’t finished with me yet.

My car was still there when I exited Walmart. In one fluid motion, I unlocked the driver’s door, slipped behind the wheel, started the engine, lifted the tape from my pocket, slid it into the car’s cassette player, and drove away listening to the rest of the preacher’s message.

What I had actually done hit me a few days later, when some words of Jesus from long ago came echoing into my head: “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be.” I didn’t think of this at that time, but I held that cassette tape next to my heart. I suddenly realized how much I treasured that preacher’s sermon. I had placed it next to my heart.

That was a good thing to do. But since then I have had memories flit through my mind of bad things that I made into treasures of heart. Things that wore out, or decayed, or got stolen. Things temporal that tricked me. Things of wood and straw. Things over which I got depressed, or bitter, or angry, or divisive, or confused, or desperate, or sinned when they were gone.

I don’t carry that cassette tape around in my shirt pocket, but I did take the preacher’s message to heart. I’m not sure I will ever drive in and out of a Walmart lot the same again.

And I remembered something else Jesus said, that good things come out of hearts holding good treasures. That’s what I want more of. That’s what we all want more of. Things of joy, of grace, of hope, of peace, of love, of godliness. Things lastingly eternal, applied and normalized in our changed and changing hearts. Not for self-interest. But for the kind of selfless giving that blesses others, as that preacher’s message blessed me. Let that beat go on. So, what are you holding in your pocket?

©2015 by Charles Strohmer

Image by LuAnn Kessi via Creative Commons.

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