Do you save things?
Kind of a silly question. We all save things, I suppose.
Pictures, locks of a child’s hair, mother’s jewelry, important documents. There are just some things too precious or vital to get rid of.
I tend to save every little piece of wood that I cut in my shop. It’s not to the point of hoarding, but some may question that conclusion. One never knows when one might need that cut-off end of a 2x4.
I used to save all the photos I shot, thinking they were far too significant to the people in them to get rid of them. I learned, however, that storing all those photos uses up a LOT of digital memory. While digital memory is less expensive than it used to be, it still is a cost I don’t need to bear. I now attack photos on my phone and my computer with a vengeance, eliminating all those that are out of focus or whose faces I don’t recognize.
Something else I save are things I read during prayer.
There are times I read something that I find truly profound and don’t want to forget them. Because most of what I read is on digital devices, I will often copy the passage and either save it to a digital notebook or send it to myself in an email.
There have been times that I have read something that has inspired one of these columns. More than once, I have placed myself in front of my computer monitor and wondered what I would write – only to go back and read something I saved, pray over it, and then formulate the ideas needed to write.
Writing is really a big part of what I do. Over the years, I have written columns for newspapers in addition to The Message; thousands of letters; manuals; appeal brochures; and reports to be delivered to those for whom I work.
But even with that, sometimes the bucket comes up empty because the well is dry. All the things I have saved, which at the time seemed so meaningful as to change the course of my life, now yielded only a mystery as to why I saved them in the first place.
I have a good friend who is a very highly educated member of the clergy. One day when I was having trouble writing something, I asked him what I should do. He wrote a lot as well, and I knew I could count on him for his secret writing sauce.
He thought about my question for a millisecond and then said “I turn to the Gospel.”
A lot of the things I have saved are from Scripture, but even those don’t make a lot of sense at times. Yet there is one passage that, when I am lost or confused about something, or I am wondering what I should do, I keep coming back to it. In fact, it is at the bottom of every email I send.
“As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post. He said to him, ‘Follow me.’ And he got up and followed him” (Mt. 9:9).
That’s the answer – follow the Lord. It always is. Which is why I saved it.
I will probably never need that cut-off 2x4 end. The Gospel, on the other hand, always saves me.
As always, thanks for reading. I would love to hear from you. Write to me at email@example.com.