Used and Played, Not Collected

The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.

  • Genesis 2:15

Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”
Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”
And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’
“Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’
“But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’

  • Luke 12:13-20

I am still writing about little things that I noticed on our trip to Texas, but I will start with something completely different, to borrow an old Monty Python Line.

In February of 2015, Miss P, a beagle, won the Westminster Dog Show.  I was elated in that beagles do not win such events.  With short hair, it is hard to hide little imperfections.  So, for a moment, I was elated.

But then, I was saddened to find that the dog lived in Manhattan.  The ASPCA may place me on their most hated list, but beagles are meant to run and hunt.  They are not meant for dog shows.  One of my last beagles (a beagle mixed with a mystery dog) was Big Red.  He had a one-inch scar on his chest where he was in hot pursuit of a rabbit, and he almost jumped a barbed wire fence.  He kept in hot pursuit, but he wore his badge of courage the rest of his life.

Beagles, being meant to hunt, would not like being cooped up in an apartment.  Yes, Miss P never knew what it was like to chase a rabbit, so how could she miss it.  But dogs have instincts, and I consider keeping a hunting dog in a cage or apartment as abuse.

The first Scripture is from the NIV.  We are to take care of the earth.  Some older translations states that we are to have dominion over the earth, and people for centuries have used that as their excuse to rob the earth of its riches and leave the mess for later generations to clean up.

The second Scripture is Jesus’ parable about the rich fool who had such a good crop, he wanted to build bigger barns to save the crop.

Have you ever collected anything?  My wife has several relatively worthless Hümmels.  We got them at bottom dollar in Germany through the military post exchange (PX).  She called them her babies.  They reminded her of our boys, for the most part.

My wife bought her “babies” when the German artisans made them, watermarks to prove it.  But about the time we moved back to the USA, the company sold out to a Japanese firm.  Then no one wanted the collectibles.  Even those made earlier now were tainted as cheap Japanese knock-offs.  My wife still has her “babies”, but unless you can find that one collector who needs one or another to complete the collection, they are worthless.

Now, to our trip.  We met a member of the family, known for his bragging.  He saw our son pull out a ukulele.  He bragged about how his wife had a collector’s ukulele worth over $3,000.  We dismissed the brag.  You never knew if it was a true statement or his way of “conversation.”

But then, as other family members gathered, our son played the ukulele, singing Over the Rainbow as Israel “IZ” or “Izzy” Kamakawiwo’ole would sing it.  One uncle recorded him.  The uncle showed the recording to the others and as a result, after the memorial service and the Altar Society’s meal that they prepared for us, our son sat on the steps of the stage and played to a packed house.  Several of them said they wanted our son to play that at their funeral.

I recorded it, but the file is too large to e-mail from my phone to my computer.  Here is Izzy’s version.  This “official” recording includes Issy’s ashes being poured into the waters near the Hawaiian beaches.

A $3,000 ukulele is worthless unless it is played, just like a beagle trapped in an apartment is unfulfilled, worthless for hunting.

Let us not fall into the trap of thinking possessions make life meaningful.  Having a possession that reminds you of a loved one is a wonderful thing.  That is why when natural disasters take everything that a family owned, they weep for the photographs more than anything else.

We can take nothing with us except for the love of Jesus.  Let us focus on that alone.

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

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