My mother passed away many years ago and was outlived by my father for more than two decades. Because we were stationed overseas at the time, I was blessed not only to have a few weeks at home while Mom was in the hospital, but I also had several weeks after her death to spend with Dad. During that time, of course, we went through Mom’s clothes and personal items. But as with many bereaved spouses, Dad was not yet ready to part with his beloved’s belongings. I am smiling as I’m writing because when Dad became very ill and then departed for eternity, most of my mother’s things were still in the house and in the same space they had occupied those twenty-some years before. Wallets, purses, perfume, face cream, spices – you name it, they were all still there. It left my family and me with quite the experience the summer after Dad was gone. Just ask my daughters. They have told me in no uncertain terms to clear out and clean up before I head for my heavenly home.
Due to the impracticality of taking anything with me overseas and Dad’s sentimental feelings about Mom’s possessions, I did not depart with much when I finally had to go back to Germany, save for one thing. My mom had a nail file. It was large, metal and even discolored in some places. No question, however, that file could surely do a job on nails! Now I can just see all the salon professionals and nail techs cringing with that statement. I know, I know, natural nails are not supposed to be filed with something that unmerciful. I will apologize once for possibly offending nail specialists everywhere. But, when I am in a hurry, and that is most of the time, and my nails are looking too long and ragged, I can easily and nicely get them back into shape in a short amount of time.
I do carry Mom’s nail file with me when I travel, and sometimes I will bring it along on a car ride to take advantage of sitting in one place with nothing else to do. Even though it is relatively large, it is also thin and easy to mislay. Because of its sentimental and practical value to me, I have almost panicked when I’ve not been able to find it. Besides, both of my girls, especially my older daughter, have their eyes on that prize. Kelley is fully expecting to inherit what has become a family treasure when I’m no longer here, and I want to make sure it’s still around when I am not.
I would say quite certainly that we are the only ones who are so in love with this particular piece of metal. More than likely it was a dime store purchase back in the day, and its value is only what we have bestowed upon it. There is no outward appeal or beauty to it, nor at face value is it special in any way. But, I do often think of my mom when I use it, and I am truly thankful that I have it and I can employ it for something that makes me feel and look better, present-day ideas about nail grooming aside.
I see in the file an analogy to what holds true for many of us. We see nothing special about ourselves; we find no beauty in the mirror. We do not see ourselves as appealing. Essentially, we feel like a dime store purchase, and an expendable one at that. But, there is a God who views us quite differently. In His eyes we are valuable, beautiful, desirable. We have so much worth to Him that He paid a significant price to keep us with Him throughout eternity. He calls us into fellowship with Him, and gives our life meaning and purpose, using us in ways that sometimes we cannot imagine or that we would never expect.
The Bible tells us that these are the kind of people that God came to save: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,” (Luke 4:18-19 ESV). Not a very attractive and useful group of people, are they? But, that’s who we all are before we meet Jesus. We are poor in spirit, captive to sin, blind to the truth and oppressed by the enemy of our souls and our own fleshly nature. Even after conversion we can still feel the pull of the life we should have left behind. It is only as we give ourselves over to Christ that we truly can be used for the good of mankind and for God’s glory. Praise the Lord that He sees that potential and seeks to hold onto us and employ us in His service.
Yes, that nail file is a keeper, and God says we are too. While the file won’t go on into eternity, as nothing material in this world ever will, those who trust in the saving power of the Lord Jesus will be living to love and serve God forever. That surely causes us to be quite valuable – a rare treasure, not a dime store purchase!
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us,” (2 Corinthians 4:7 ESV).
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