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Up in Smoke

We loved living on Earnshaw Drive. It was a quiet street in a safe neighborhood. We were within walking distance to the park, the library, and a shopping centre. And some of the fondest memories we have are the evenings we spent walking as a family. Sandy had a bird’s eye view from the kitchen window as Isaiah and I played baseball or fought “epic” battles in the backyard with plastic swords. We played hide-and-seek both indoors and out, always girl versus boys. Sandy and Isaiah spent many summer nights catching fireflies and swinging on the play-set. We had plasma-car races in the basement, Nerf football games in the living room, and Isaiah’s bedroom was a classroom during the day where Sandy taught Isaiah to read as well as many other things. We enjoyed dinner as a family each night around the table. And over lunch in July of 2007, that small dining room was the place where Sandy led Isaiah to Christ. We enjoyed family devotions in the living room and watching GlobeTrekker on Friday nights. It was Pearl’s first home and the only home Isaiah can remember. These are just a few of the memories Sandy and I recalled as we walked through an empty house one last time just a few weeks ago.

We praise the Lord that after nine months on the market our house finally sold. Five years ago we bought it during a seller’s market and then sold during a buyer’s market. All told we lost nearly $30,000. Over the past few weeks we have sold much of our possessions for a fraction of what they cost. We have lost thousands of dollars in just a matter of a few weeks.

I do not share this personal information to receive anyone’s pity nor do I share it to pass Sandy and me off as “spiritual giants” willing to sacrifice all for the cause of Christ. I mention it for context to a thought I had about the judgment seat of Christ...

I worked hard to receive a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering and a master’s degree in Materials Engineering. As did Sandy for her degree in Psychology and the master’s work she did. Why? I can’t speak for Sandy and her thoughts about a career (plus that’s another story all together) but for me I wanted to make money. I never found great fulfillment in my time as an engineer but it served as a means to an end – I wanted to provide for my family. There is nothing wrong with that nor is there anything wrong with having possessions provided they do not “have” you. My point is merely this… As I sat in an empty house, once filled, that was no longer mine, I was struck by how little value others placed on the things I had worked my entire adult life for. One day we will stand before the judgment seat of Christ and so much that we have worked a lifetime for will go up in smoke. Things we have put great value on will be revealed as to the value they had to Christ. Recently in the mission conference at Cornerstone Baptist Church in Carthage, TN, Pastor Ron Ralph summed up this thought by saying, “Missions is giving up something that is going to go up in smoke for something that will not burn.” Amen. Worthy is the Lamb.

“According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” 1 Corinthians 3:10-15

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