We recently made a quick trip back to Greenville, SC. That’s where we lived before moving to Tampa, and we still have a house there that we are trying to sell. We spent an entire Saturday doing basic maintenance on the place – cutting the grass, dusting the furniture, cleaning the HVAC filters, etc.
We have a lot of good memories tied to that house. Our second daugher was born while we lived there, and our oldest daughter doesn’t remember any house we lived in prior to it. Both our girls learned to swim in the pool in the back yard. My wife and I celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary while we lived there. The youth group from our former church had countless hot dog fellowships there. And I lost count of all the birthday parties, sleepovers, and family movie nights in the den. Suffice it to say that 103 Winsford Drive represents a significant part of my family’s life together.
And yet, the only thought that was running through my head this past Saturday was how much I cannot wait to finally sell the place and be rid of it! When we first saw the house five years ago I was willing to do whatever was necessary to buy it. I was convinced it was the only house we would ever need. But now five years later that house is the one thing that is standing between us and a complete and full transition to Tampa.
It is a common experience. The things we think are so important and necessary to make us happy end up leaving us feeling unsatisfied and burdened. You excitedly buy that new computer or smart phone, and yet by the time you get it home a newer and more advanced model hits the market and you already want a newer one. You drive that new car for nine months and then realize that because of depreciation it is already worth less than you owe. Like it or not you are stuck with it for five years. The clothes you bought last season are left in the back corner of the closet because they are no longer in fashion. Or, in my case, you drive ten hours to cut the grass at a house you no longer live in because God has called you to a new place of service!
I realize, of course, that the buying and selling of real estate is a normal part of life. And I am grateful to God for the privilege of having owned this home for the last five years. But it has been a first hand lesson on why Jesus warned us not to put our treasure in places where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. The things of this earth can never fully satisfy us, and when we put our hope and trust in them we are setting ourselves up for disappointment. (How fitting that I am writing these words on the morning after the stock market plunged over 600 points in a day!) Here today, gone tomorrow. Or, in my case, here today and tomorrow and the day after that, even when you want to get rid of it!
We need homes and clothes and even computers (I am writing on one, after all). God knows this, but in the Old Testament God speaks through the prophet Isaiah to ask “Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? (Isaiah 55:2)” It is a question the human race (myself included) is still trying to answer.
And by the way, if anybody is looking for a spacious 4 bedroom, 2.5 bath split level house in beautiful upsate South Carolina, I know just the place for you!