Often we are told to aspire to gain everything. At school, children are sometimes encouraged to strive for occupations which pay lots of money, for then we can find ‘paradise’. We can see stories of those who have been ‘successful’ and have won the jackpot but then find they are disillusioned.

Recently the thought of material gain has been much in my mind. Last week I had my Father’s goods, all his worldly goods, in the back of my car – and that’s not an estate or pickup. It is quite humbling to think that all he owns were now in one little space – 88 years contained on the back seat and boot.

We may hear that we arrive with nothing, but it is not something we might ponder upon when the new baby arrives. We will provide for that bundle of joy and over the years the material gains will start to be collected. We might remember when our children depart the home for university or their first room / home just how much ‘stuff’ they have amassed. But now look some decades onwards and that material collection may start to dissipate.

As we grow older, and if our health deteriorates, we might find ourselves needing to move out of our homes and seek support in a residential or nursing home. Their facilities are superb, well mostly, but the room size is limited. The pictures can be placed around the room, the clothes in the wardrobe, possibly the TV to provide some entertainment – but it is limited.

It makes you think possibly of our striving throughout our lives. Yes what you earn can provide, for not only for yourself, your loved ones, for those possibly in need, but perhaps we all might find that, in the end, possessions are small in number.

How depressing.

But is it?

What of those memories, those mental images which link nine decades of history which even Google would struggle to combine coherently from the perspective of just one person? It is our memories which are unable to be bought, to finance, which are only limited by our capacity to recollect them. His room is now festooned with photographic albums highlighting those ‘golden’ years, and with pictures on each wall to recall those who mean(t) so much over the years.

No worldly goods but much to gain.

It is now clear that our striving may be not on material gains but on those memories of loved ones and of what parts of the world we might experience.

What do you think?

For Christians, we believe that there is more than this life. My Father still holds dear to his Bible, for it gives him hope in what is next, where there is no pain. No worldly goods but much to gain.

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