But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 1 Timothy 6:6-8
They are rewards for sitting through a haircut, for playing with smiley faced pancakes and pouring maple syrup all over a restaurant table, for visiting a fair, for simply being under the age of ten.
And they never fail to make my children weep or argue or sigh deeply while watching their precious rewards drift higher and higher and out of sight.
This morning, Asher whined at the sight of a shriveled red balloon on our doorstep. Why did this happen? If only he had brought it inside. If only the fine people at Great Cuts had blown it up bigger to begin with. If only Mama had taken better care of it.
Balloons are not forever, Asher, I tell him as we walk through the door. They are fun for a little while, but they always go away.
Such a hard life lesson for a three year old. Balloons are temporary.
Recently, I had people tell me that they were going to show up at my house, unannounced one day, just to see how everything manages to get done.
I jokingly told them to please call first, if only so I can be sure to have pants on.
But the truth is, unannounced guests stress me out. Doorbells when I am not ready for visitors? I will cover my children’s mouths and duck behind the sofa.
Okay, not really. But I prefer time to prep, even if only a quick phone call to let me know you’re on your way.
I will wipe down my house, sweep, quickly toss the dishes in the washer, maybe even put on non-sweat pants (if you are particularly fancy company, I’ll even brush my hair. Maybe.)
But, this morning, as I ran the dishwasher and swept up breakfast crumbs in anticipation for a friend coming over, I saw it all for what it really is: A balloon.
It is me, chasing after something that doesn’t matter, something that will disappoint or return to its deflated self as soon as the air is let go.
When I am gone from this earth, I can’t take my wiped down kitchen sink with me, nor will there be a special prize for the most organized shoe cubby or the most amazing looking Pinterest inspired project. There are no extra points for the use of vintage-inspired furniture or the most cleverly re-purposed mason jar.
My treasures will come from the hospitality I have shown, and any compassion and kindnesses, perhaps even in in the midst of all of this mess I am constantly trying to push back into closets and under the proverbial rugs of my life.
And so, like Asher stepping over the deflated red balloon, today I am remembering to hold very loosely to the things the world might value. A fancy, well-kept house. A nice car. A nine-to-five job that has great benefits.
If I can’t fit it into my heart and it doesn’t benefit my soul – if it doesn’t glorify God, I can let it go.
I want distinction, not distraction.
I want honesty, not pretense.
I want to look back on my life and know that I was not tricked by a million shiny balloons, floating to nowhere.
Perhaps that starts with opening my front door, even with crumbs still on the floor.