Thursday, September 6, 2012

Chlorophyll Versus Treasure


Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
                                    ~Matthew 6:19-21

As I’ve ministered to dying people for the past several years, I’ve noticed a phenomenon.  Very shortly before someone dies, they often become extremely concerned about their belongings.
            Back in 1993, my mother was a health nut.  Before she became seriously ill with cancer and diabetes, she bought twelve large bottles of chlorophyll—a nasty green, organic liquid that tasted as bad as it smelled, and was supposedly the healthiest thing in the world to hold your nose for and drink.
            She then went into a nursing home for nearly a year.  As time grew closer for her life to come to an end, she became unusually obsessed with something.  She did not want anyone to touch her precious chlorophyll bottles!  She would often ask me or one of my siblings if the chlorophyll was still there and intact.
            “Yes, Mom.  Don’t worry.  It’s still under the dining room table where you left it.”
            I remember some sibling cruelly joked that he or she accidentally kicked one of the bottles and it burst open.  Well, I thought my mother’s skull was going to burst open right then and there.
            Just days later, she was gone.
            Does someone know when their mortality is imminent?  I believe so.  I believe, from what I’ve witnessed for a long time now, that God often speaks directly to someone’s spirit that their time is coming very soon.  And my mother was caught in the middle of stepping into the afterlife with one foot while grabbing at anything dear to her with another hand.  Chlorophyll represented earth to her.
            When Paul writes about his heaven and earth struggle here in Phil 1:22-24…
                                                                    
If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.

            ...his “earth” was not things but people.  
            That’s because he was Kingdom centered, whereas my mother had not yet accepted Christ (she did, however, a day before she passed).  If someone does not have Christ, they latch onto the next best representative of this earthly world—things.
            That brings me to two dying women I’ve visited this past month.
            Katie is an old German woman who’s been stripped of nearly all she has owned.  She was a widow who lived alone.  When her condition became too severe to leave her alone, Katie’s neighbor, Sandy, took her in.  Katie then had to sell her house and her car to live with Sandy.  A few months later, Katie had to move to a nursing home because caring for her was too much for Sandy.  When she moved, she had to get rid of her precious Cocker Spaniel, the only family she’s known for years.
            Now in a nursing home, Katie’s become so paranoid.  Some may say that’s understandable.  Katie worries that Sandy is taking her for all she’s worth, but it’s virtually reduced to next to nothing anyway.  Still, Katie’s panicked that Sandy has her driver’s license.
            “What if a cop stops me on the road?  I’ll go to jail without it,” she cried to me.  But we all know that Katie can’t set foot in a car.  Besides, her car is gone.  Katie is holding on to anything that represents earth to her with a feverish desperation.
            Today, I spent time with another woman, Robbi.  Robbi has a short time to live, but since she recently moved to a nursing home, she’s been very teary and desperate.  You see, she believes her wayward son is at her house taking her for all she’s worth (which also isn't much).  Robbi was convulsing in tears because she thinks her son is stealing a rock collection she has in a backpack.  Those rocks are Robbi’s chlorophyll.  But today, I believe I refocused her on her treasure in heaven, praise God. 
            Please pray for both Katie and Robbi.  But more importantly, join me in ensuring that your treasure and mine remains where it should be—in the bosom of our Lord in heaven!  
            We nearly lost everything in the Waldo Canyon fire this summer.  Fortunately, the Lord spared our home.  But even more fortunately, the incident woke up my wife and me about what’s really important.  And “things” just aren’t.  Mind you, Adéye and I don’t own anything to store in a safety deposit box.  (You’re more than welcome to walk around our home and help yourself to anything! lol)  But still, belongings don’t have to have intrinsic value to be a source of treasure on earth.
            I have in my closet two or three boxes of “stuff” that belonged to my father.  They were near and dear to his heart.  But for me, well, I never once looked at them since he died.  It’s not that it’s too painful, it’s that they don’t mean anything to me.  They were dear to HIM.  Aw, but Solomon got it right, huh?  It’s all vanity, empty!
            Let go, friends.  Let go.  Start now releasing the chlorophyll in your life and be free to go home.  Because it could happen at any time.

9 comments:

  1. amen.. I'll pray for katie and sandy, it must be so hard for the elderly to be alone in nursing homes and dying. wish I could do something about it! ?

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  2. I mean, I'll pray for Katie and Robbi

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    1. That's the best thing you can do for them, Susan! Thank you so much.

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  3. Thanks you for the post Anthony .A good reminder to start the day. It's something I strive for , but more often than not I fail at.

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    1. I think we all fail at this stuff, don't we? God bless you for your honesty and humility. As broken as we all are, we are some precious sheep to our Savior, Who loves us with infinite, unfathomable unconditional love.

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  4. Great post, well worth the read, thanks.

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  5. :( My heart broke reading the part about the doggie... Don't know what it is with me and animals! lol!

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    1. Alysa, the dog is doing fine. A friend of a friend took him and he's very, very happy now. Bless your little soft "animal" heart. :)

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