A watch and a wedding ring...

In church today, the pastor spoke from 1 Timothy 6:6-10: But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.

As I pondered that first sentence, "For we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world." I thought about my dad.

By America's standards, my dad died a poor man. He did have food and clothes and a roof over his head, but the rest of his worldly goods were nil. In fact, the only two things he had left besides his Bible, that he cared about in an earthly sense, were his watch and his wedding ring.

Dad used to enjoy getting a new (never expensive) watch with a few bells and whistles, the kind that allowed him to input the birth dates of his family members and perhaps had the added stopwatch feature. In his later years, he just liked one that told him the date and time. He also was never without his wedding ring, and stayed true to what it represented - his commitment to my mom whom he loved for over 70 years.

When he left this world for the next one, he left that watch and his wedding ring behind...and it occurred to me how very little he had and yet how much it represented. Dad is no longer constrained by time and his commitments are all fulfilled. He finished what God gave him to do, so these earthly symbols no longer mean what they once did.

There are two other things Dad left behind, things that carry no material value. His legacy of faith and a family that loved him. In this he found contentment.

Contentment is pretty tough to learn, something I think I've grasped only to lose it again. It is far too easy to get sucked into the desire for more, as if material things mattered. But things just exact something from us in their upkeep or they mold and shrivel and decay until they are worthless or wasted. I wonder how often I think I "need" something, when really it is just a strong "want."

Things don't make us rich. My dad could have counted his worldly possessions on two hands. But you can't put a value on faith or love. Dad is far richer now than he has ever been and his treasure is safe from decay and from any who might take it from him.

Godliness with contentment is great gain - we can't take it with us. Someday we, too, will get to leave behind time and commitments. Even if all we have left is a watch and a wedding ring.


PersonalJill Eileen Smith