While it was just over 15 years ago, it seems like yesterday I was living through and witnessing the devastation of Hurricane Katrina as it made its way into south Louisiana. I spent the first four initial weeks in the aftermath without power or AC … in August … in Louisiana, separated from my family, wife, cutting trees off of countless homes, putting tarps on roofs, and dispersing supplies to those who had lost everything.
The road back to some semblance of normalcy took much longer than four weeks, it was months to the better part of a year before things seemed close to familiar. It truly was some of the most difficult times of my short life. As I think back to the anxiousness of those days, I also have wonderful memories that I will never forget amid the emotional and literal darkness of those times. I will never forget those faithful servants and volunteers who showed up from all over the country who came to help and encourage. I don’t know their names and where they are today, but I will always be grateful for their help and encouragement in my time of need.
From the flooding a few years ago to this latest hurricane, I felt compelled to return to Louisiana and simply do my small part to help. I was hoping to at the very least be used by God as an encouragement to someone just as others were to me. As God tends to do, He used this 2,500-mile journey to encourage me and teach me as well. Among many small lessons and encouragements, here is one that has been on my mind since returning.
“IT IS ONLY STUFF”.
One of my stops on this trip was to visit my aunt and uncle who lived in Lake Charles. My 70-year-old uncle has dementia and refused to leave as the hurricane approached. My aunt pushed two Lazy-boy chairs together, held hands, and prayed as they lost power, watched water pour through the AC vents into their home, and listened to trees snap and break all around them, hoping they would survive. By God’s grace, they survived. Unfortunately, their house and their stuff did not. It was a total loss. They were able to salvage about half of their possessions, place them in a storage unit, and are currently living with a relative in a nearby rental property. As I asked how they were doing, my aunt’s first reply was “it is only stuff.” WHAT A FANTASTIC BIBLICAL REMINDER.
The apostle Paul reminds us “look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (2 Cor. 4:18)
MONEY AND POSSESSIONS ARE TEMPORARY
You and I came into the world without money and we will not take any with us when we leave. Our money has no eternal worth. As Tony Reinke states, “the cash in our wallets is the Monopoly money of this present age.” This is true of all our possessions and stuff. Your house, car, furniture, office, etc… It really is just “stuff”.
Christ-followers should know that the blessed life has nothing to do with what possessions we have accumulated on earth. Earthly blessing comes and goes. We get a crystal clear biblical illustration of this principle in the book of Job. Our greatest blessings rest in God Himself. He will last forever. Knowing Christ and being found in Him is the treasure that far outweighs them all.
- Pastor Brad Kirby