What do you really want to take with you?

Published 7:11 pm Wednesday, April 22, 2020

By Nathan Decker

“Never let hard lessons harden your heart; the hard lessons of life are meant to make you better, not bitter”

– Roy T. Bennett, “The Light in the Heart”

Fred Craddock tells this story about a classmate of his: Glenn Adsit ministered most of his life in China. He was under house arrest in China when the soldiers came one day and said, “You can return to America.” They were celebrating, and the soldiers said, “You can take 200 pounds with you.”

Well, they ‘d been there for years. Two hundred pounds. They got the scales and started the family arguments: two children, wife, husband. Must have this vase. Well, this is a new typewriter. What about my books? What about this? And they weighed everything and took it off and weighed this and took it off and weighed this and, finally, right on the dot, 200 pounds.

“The soldier asked, “Ready to go?”


“Did you weigh everything?”


“You weighed the kids?”

“No we didn’t.”

“Weigh the kids.”

And in a moment, typewriter and vase and all became trash. Trash. It happens.

We have been given a unique moment. Most of humanity never gets this gift. We’ve been given a pause. A horrible disease is taking loved ones from us. The whole world is economically, physically, and momentously still. Yet, this won’t last forever. This is a season, not an apocalypse. And before we get to the other side, before we cross back into ‘normal,’ before we step back into the rat race, frantically running to catch up — we need to make an important decision: What do you really want to take with you?

I can tell you my personal list. I want to keep having family dinners at the table. I want to go for walks with my wife. I want to keep checking on my neighbors, especially the elderly to make sure they have all they need. I want to appreciate doctors, nurses, teachers, cashiers, first responders and local restaurants just as much as I do now.

Yes, we will all be glad when we don’t have to worry about toilet paper, stock markets and face masks. But instead of focusing on what we can’t wait to lose on this journey, let’s take account of what we’ve gained and what we need to fight dearly for to keep once the voices of status quo try to wrench us back to where we once where. What do you really want to take with you after COVID-19 is history? What part of this journey matters. Weigh the kids. Weigh the moment. After all, it’s what Jesus would do.

Put on my yoke, and learn from me. I’m gentle and humble. And you will find rest for yourselves. My yoke is easy to bear, and my burden is light.”

– Jesus in Matthew 11:29-30