Taking Inventory


He said to them, “Therefore every teacher of the law who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.”                                     Matthew 13:52

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve had the occasion to visit two people in their new assisted living accommodations.   And before that, to watch the arduous weeks of sorting through and evaluating treasured possessions:  what to keep, what to donate, what to bestow on a grateful recipient.   It is no easy task to distill the lifetime collections of a household to what will fit in a small room or apartment.  In light of this, I took a good look around my own home.

Times change, and what is highly valued by one generation is easily dismissed by the next.  In my possession, I have a 12 piece Royal Doulton chinaware collection that I’d inherited, an estimated 3-400 books, not including cookbooks.  The music books and sheet music in itself would be easily over 100 items.  I have over 100 CDs, and some 20 or so tapes, a piano, an organ, a keyboard, glockenspiel, guitar, an accordion . . .    I would have said that I’m not a collecting kind of person, but the evidence seems to suggest otherwise.

And, in all this, I still so often think that I need to look outside in order to gain knowledge or skills, when the truth is that the only thing lacking is the faith, and investing with some sweat equity.   When I take a second look at what I already have, the fresh look results in new treasures that lie hidden among the old, still unrecognized and undeveloped.  It’s unlikely God is going to answer my requests for more if I already have what I need.

The Biblical prophet Elisha replied to the desperate widow whose sons were about to be taken away to pay her debt: “Tell me, what do you have in your house?”  From her small jar of olive oil she was to pour oil into all the jars she could borrow.  Through that act of faith, she was given, miraculously, ample provision.

Whether we’re in times of need, or at a loss at how to proceed, we may have far more than we think in terms of options and opportunities.   Sometimes it’s just a matter of opening our eyes, counting our blessings, using what we have, sharing what we don’t need.

“(God’s) love has no limits, His grace has no measure
His power no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.”

From “He Giveth More Grace,” Annie J. Flint