Saturday Sermon: Care for the true treasure
By Dan Fultz
In about a month or so, I will turn 64. I'm not sure what I think of that. As many have so cleverly said - I've never been this old before. It surely seems a lot younger than it used to. Thinking about getting older, I have decided that we are only looking at half the story.
Sure, our bodies do slowly lose some of their outer beauty, some of their strength and endurance, but there is more going on in us. Spiritually, we are getting stronger, wiser and more resilient. Sure, I would like to have my 20-year-old body back, but I don't think I would like so much to have my 20-year-old soul back. Through years of study, prayer, worship and fellowship in my community of faith, I have slowly become a better person. And I certainly have a lot more spiritual growing to do.
Our bodies are nothing more than temporary carrying cases for our souls. These bodies are designed to wear out, to pass away, but the soul - the spirit that lives in our body lives on, ever growing stronger.
My grandmother had a beautiful, old walnut tree in her backyard. Sometimes, her whole yard would be littered with the large green fruit. The nuts were covered in the green fruit that turned a greenish black and became soft. When I picked the fruit up off the ground, I would get a dark stain on my hands. The green fruit, or case that the nut came in, was a very temporary covering that contained a great treasure. But even that nut is not the treasure. For it is only when that nut is buried in the ground that it becomes what it was created to be, a beautiful new tree. How silly it would be to obsess on the fruit or even the perishable nut. We should put our attention on that which endures.
We are so focused on the physical beauty and strength of youth of the green fruit, we neglect the true treasure that lasts, that endures even beyond the grave to become far more than we can ever imagine.
Sure, we should take care of our bodies, eat right, exercise and avoid destructive habits. Our bodies need to care for the treasure they carry. But we should also remember to take care of the spirit.
We should nurture our spirit with the study of sacred texts, with prayer, with acts of kindness and mercy, and with connection to our community of faith. And when we see another person, we would do well, I think, to look past that outer covering, be it firm and green, or aged and soft, and look at the spirit that dwells inside.
Let us care for the fresh, young spirit that dwell in the young bodies around us, and let us honor and cherish the spirits of those whose dwelling place has weathered the onslaught of time. Grace and peace. Amen.
Dan Fultz is the pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church of Victoria.