Posts Tagged ‘inheritance’

Lay up Treasure in Abundant Measure… for the Great Accounting Day

February 11, 2015

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Just recently I discovered a very interesting old book: “Ways to Wealth – the Cust Family of Eighteenth Century Armagh,” by L.A. Clarkson & E.M. Crawford. The back page of the book declares: “This book gives a unique insight into the lifestyle and activities of an eighteenth century county family. It centres round Miss Annaritta Cust of Market Street, Armagh who died in 1797 aged well over eighty.” Apparently Miss Cust “left behind a house filled with an extraordinary collection of clutter ranging from valuable silver, elegant furniture, clothes in profusion and books in abundance, to useless scraps of rags and rubbish!” A list was drawn up by the executors of every single item possessed by this lady – what a nightmare to have to go through this lot!

I find the book interesting, from spiritual point of view, given that I have experienced the loss of two loved ones in recent years and have known something of the nature of the personal effects that they have left behind.  Certainly I have been especially touched by their little hand-written notes of a spiritual nature. My mother, by little notes she has written has made it clear that she loves me very much and I was moved to tears on reading these; it means so much to me to know in whom she had put her trust, when I read her references to her Lord and Saviour. In the end she was closer to Him than she ever had been in the rest of her life.

To hold my father’s Bible, studying the pieces of scripture that he had underlined and his handwritten references to how certain verses had touched him personally also means so much to me.

Being something of a sentimental hoarder I suppose that my personal effects could be a bit of a nightmare to go through too – so perhaps I should start tidying up now! However, I sincerely do want to leave behind those things which touch the hearts of those who find them.

With these thoughts in mind, I was recently reminded of the little choruses which were sung at the start of the Sunday night meeting in Sleepy Valley Mission Hall near Richhill; little choruses in the old “Songs of Victory” book, such as this one…

“Lay up treasure in Heaven,

Life will pass away;

Lay up treasure in abundant measure,

For the great accounting day;

Lay up treasure in Heaven!

Though men count thee poor,

Thou shalt reign with the sons of God

For evermore.”

William Drake Pennick (1884-1944)

We live in an incredibly materialistic world – materialism which would make the personal effects of Miss Cust pale into insignificance. Sadly there are many who appear totally oblivious to that fact that someday they will leave their possessions behind for others to sift through. We sojourn here for just a very little while.

Jesus said: “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6v19&20)

What gladdens my heart most? The knowledge that someone has given me gold or silver – or the knowledge that a soul has repented and put his trust in the Lord for salvation? The joy that I have inherited gold and silver would be immediately robbed from me if I returned home to find those material things had been stolen. But no one can rob me of the incomparable joy that I would feel on hearing that a soul had put his trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.

“Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” (Matthew 6v24)

“Today,” the book tells me “the Custs are forgotten in Armagh, the name unpreserved even as the name of a street, as in the case of their contemporaries, Ogle or Jenny or Dobbin.” “The ‘great house’ has been totally obliterated.”

And so it will be one day with our own homes, if this world continues. Our material possessions will some day pass away – but those unseen attributes: that love for our fellowmen, that burning desire to see souls saved and our love, witness and work for the Lord will endure for ever. These are the only treasures which should hold any meaning for those who serve Him and these treasures can only be the inheritance of those who have denied themselves and taken up the cross to follow Him. (Mark 10v21)

 

On Legacies – and an “Inheritance Incorruptible and Undefiled”

February 15, 2012

In the past few months some of my closest neighbours have sadly died and one day just recently I started to reflect on the possessions that these people have left behind. Cars, houses, land, property, livestock… Then I began to think about what I had to leave, if I should suddenly pass away… very little indeed, in the material sense, by this world’s standards!

Nevertheless, a long time ago I remember someone say that when each one of us dies, we will each leave a legacy…. This legacy can be a litany of negative and bitter memories – but it can also be a legacy of immense value in the spiritual sense. Will I be remembered as a sincere and genuine servant of the Lord, who has laboured for Him during my short sojourn here – or will I be remembered for being someone who was constantly argumentative, impatient or even bad-tempered? Praise God for His deliverance and for His strength in our daily lives, making the former a great possibility! “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (Romans 7v25)

This week I remember my father who passed into the Lord’s Presence exactly one year ago. I remember how he encouraged us, as children, to learn Bible verses and how he was a special witness to his own loved ones, including all his eleven grandchildren.

“Grandad loved that tree,” my youngest daughter told me one afternoon as we walked in a beautiful glen close to our home, “and he sat just where you are sitting right now, telling me all about trees and how they shed their barks as the branches grow thicker… I wish he could have lived to camp in the glen sometime with us, as he once said he would like to. He was such fun and we loved him so much…”

I nodded silently, as we sat staring for a long time at the spreading oak tree, its magnificent branches still bare from the winter, but soon they would be in full leaf again… and then I remembered Psalm 1, which my father ensured that we all learned by heart many years ago.

“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. The ungodly are not so; but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away, Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgement, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.”

Knowing this psalm by heart; not only knowing it, but being encouraged to love it – is my father’s great legacy to me.

Lower down in the valley we could hear some unusual birdsong and then we watched a squirrel scurry swiftly up one of the mossy branches, climbing so high that he was no longer visible.

“Have you visited Grandad’s grave recently?” my daughter asked me and I shook my head sadly, signifying that I hadn’t. “Anyway, he’s not there,” I replied. “He’s higher than that squirrel, higher than the tree, higher than the sky…”

“I know…” was the quiet reply.

Memories of my father’s witness to his own grandchildren came flooding back to me and then I remembered the text on his farmyard wall, as pictured above. Yes, we can leave a rich and wonderful legacy of memories, even tangible memories; ones that can speak to our loved ones, neighbours and even visiting strangers, long after we have gone to possess our own incorruptible inheritance…

Praise God – I’m Rich!

April 1, 2011

Something happened to me one evening just recently; something which I find difficult to put into words, expect to say that I was suddenly overwhelmed by the Lord’s Presence and I came to see how rich I was in Him. Of course when most people see the word ‘rich’ in print, the spiritual never crosses their minds; they visualise property, gold, money or possessions. Yet this is what the Lord showed me that evening… the depths of the spiritual riches that are mine in Him!

Sometimes we are troubled on every side by those who can talk of nothing but the material, while at the same time numerous bills are being shoved through our letterboxes or our bank accounts are dwindling with one direct-debit after another. As a consequence, we may start to worry, growing irritable and pre-occupied – but this is not the Lord’s will for His children!

As we walk by faith each day, we must keep our eyes on the Lord and not on the stormy waves of this world’s monetary problems which threaten to overwhelm us.

In the early days of our marriage, when my husband was still a student and we managed to live on very little, someone gave me a little wooden plaque with these words… “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4v19) I believe that these needs apply to both the spiritual and the material, but at the same time I don’t agree with those whose philosophy supports the notion that ‘health, wealth and prosperity’ go ‘hand in hand’ with the Christian life.

In Philippians 4v19, we learn of those “whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things…”

All around me I see people who are so rich in the things of this world. Sadly they are totally taken up with material things and probably never give a thought to the serious matter of eternity. If my possessions consisted of nothing but the material – how poor I would be! Jesus warns us in Luke 12v15… “Take heed; and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.”

Just recently I was becoming quite concerned about people with whom I was in touch talking about money (or their lack of it) all the time. At the same time I could see that in reality these same people had much to be thankful for in the material sense – but sadly they were poverty stricken in the spiritual sense. In truth this life with all its material possessions will very soon pass away for each one of us. My prayer is that those of us who know the Lord would learn to “count our blessings” – both in the material and spiritual sense, while those who are still outside of grace would read the parable of the rich man in Luke 12v16-21 – and trust the Lord to save them, so that they would not lay up treasure for themselves – but be rich towards God. (Luke 12v21)

Getting back to my experience that evening – I felt so close to Lord after this; somehow He had given me a revelation of just how rich I am and I believe that there are even more riches to be possessed in Him. He has given me His wonderful Word to read; He is constantly there for me as my Guide in the onward march of life, He is my Confidant, my All – and most of all, He has given me the unspeakable riches of glory and everlasting life, which are mine through the gift of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ! 1Peter 1v3&4 describes it so well: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,” How can I not rejoice in such riches – and how can I not pray for them to be bestowed on every living soul with whom I come in contact?

Link to the hymn “Count your Blessings:” http://www.hymntime.com/tch/htm/c/o/u/countyou.htm