Thousands Of Dollars For A Chest Of Drawers
A few days ago I read this excerpt about a lady who called upon Sotheby’s, the famous British auction company, for help in raising money. R.S. Timewell, the head of Sotheby’s furniture department tells the story:
“Recently an old lady near Cambridge wrote that she wanted to raise two thousand pounds and asked if I would go through her house and see if her furniture would fetch that much. I did, and there was absolutely nothing of value. As I was about to leave I said, ‘Have I seen everything?’ She said I had, except for a maid’s room that she hadn’t bothered to show me. The room had a very fine 18th-century chest that the old lady was using to store blankets in. ‘Your worries are over,’ I told her, ‘if you sell that chest.’ She said, ‘But that’s quite impossible–where will I store my blankets?'” (Zinsser)
When I read that it made me think of a verse from the last post on the book of John. Right after Jesus talks about how unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies it can’t bear fruit, he makes this statement: “Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” (John 12:25)
Another time Jesus phrased the same concept in a different way, he said, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26)
I’m sure you see the connection. That lady needed 2,000 pounds (about 2,600 U.S. dollars), and Mr. Timewell from Sotheby’s offered her the solution. Yet she responded that to give up the chest of drawers in her maid’s room was impossible–because she would have no place to store her blankets.
That can be me, and that can be you, when it comes to Jesus. We want eternity in heaven, so we ask God for His mercy. He offers us Jesus, but we don’t want to make room for him. We love to fill the chest of our life with the blankets of our desires. Our desire to make money, or to read, or play video games, or watch Netflix. We value our desires of this world above making room for Jesus in our life. Our response to God is even more irrational than the lady’s response to the man from Sotheby’s.
We know we’re sinners. We know we need a savior. We know Jesus is our hope for gaining eternity.
But we don’t want to give up the place where we store our blankets.
William Zinsser, On Writing Well, Harper Perennial, 2012
18th century chest of drawers image via Wikimedia Commons