Community News

Spiritual Matters by Rev Chris Sparks

Just what do we value?

Some things I keep. Others I throw away.
Something I have kept is an old e-mail with the subject heading, “What’s Important?”. It’s an authentic expression of the (anonymous) author’s recollection of lessons learned and insight gained into things of real value in life.
He or she wrote: “I grew up with practical parents who had been frightened by the Great Depression in the 1930’s. A mother – God love her – who washed aluminium foil after she cooked in it, then re-used it. She was the original recycle queen. A father who was happier getting old shoes fixed than buying new ones.
Their marriage was good; their dreams focused. I can see them now, dad in trousers, T-shirt and a hat, and mum in a house-dress, lawn mower in one hand and a tea-towel in the other.
It was the time for fixing things; a curtain rod, the kitchen radio, screen door, the hem in a dress.
It was a way of life, and sometimes it made me crazy! All that repairing, eating, renewing, I wanted – just once – to be wasteful. Waste meant affluence. Throwing things away meant there’d always be more.
But then my father died, and on that clear autumn night, in the warmth of the hospital room, I was struck with the pain of learning that sometimes there isn’t any more.
Sometimes, what we care about most gets all used up and goes away, never to return. So, while we have it, it’s best we love it; and care for it; and fix it when it’s broken; and heal it when it’s sick.
This is true – for marriage – and old cars – and children with bad school reports – and dogs and cats with bad hips – and aging parents – and grandparents. We keep them because they are worth it. There are just some things that make life important; people we know who are special. And so, we keep them close!”

These insights are timeless. But we also need to add to the above fix-it and healing list, our relationship with God!
I’ve noted with concern lately that our obsession with money as the answer to our problems has escalated to stratospheric levels. But does having more money answer life’s stresses and problems? Try telling that to one of the survivors of the Titanic disaster who left $300,000 (a fortune in 1912!) in money, jewellery and securities in a box in his cabin. “The money seemed a mockery at that time” he later said. “I picked up three oranges instead!”
We have a new and growing energy crisis staring at us. The Northern Beaches of Sydney have fallen victim to a major, prolonged blackout, with dire predictions of many more to come – together with soaring energy costs. So, we were urged by the government to conserve electricity. But then, when the initial crisis passed, the relevant government minister fronted the media to say that we don’t need to conserve electricity any more!
Really! Surely, we must all strive to live responsibly – in line with the will and purpose of God, the Creator. We must not fall into the trap of easily and recklessly tossing aside that which is invaluable and timeless in order to embrace what is finite, perishable and incapable of fully satisfying our souls.
Surely, we should embrace the incomparable worth that God alone gives to our lives – a worth that is timeless and irreplaceable.