The storehouse of our life

Brenda Cannon HenleyBy Brenda Cannon Henley
If I choose to turn left out of my drive to head to one of the busiest roads in Largo, I am often caught by the red light at the intersection of Ulmerton and Ridge Road. We Georgia and Texas people have unanimously agreed that stoplights in Florida hold for an inordinate amount of time. There is a lot of traffic, and I get it already, when the snowbirds are here, they don’t all move that fast. On the other hand, some will run you over if you aren’t moving quickly.

A woman could easily put on makeup, fix hair, or make several calls. Men could shave, go over the day’s schedule, or build something in their mind’s eye while waiting. I am going to make it a point to time one or two the next time I am caught sitting. The thing that is funny to me about it is that it gives one a chance to look around and fix location points firmly in mind. For instance, on this corner sits proudly the Fifth Third Bank. Now, who in their right mind would name a bank the Fifth Third? I want the No. 1 bank in which to place my money.

Now, before you sit at your desk to draft that note explaining to me about mergers, name changes for business reasons, or why a bank might be called an unusual name, let me assure you I have written enough business articles over the years to understand a bit about tax advantages, advertisement, and other matters that might cause a need for such an odd choice. And, I am sure there is nothing wrong with the Fifth Third.

I saw the bank last night coming home from an outing, and I must have gone to bed thinking about it because I awoke with a start wondering how much attention we pay to our own individual storehouses of life. We get out of what we put in our local banks and credit unions. My checks are automatically deposited and when they hit, or when I have a good balance, I can write a check and draw out the money I need, or most often for me, I whip out my pretty Gulf Credit Union debit card and shop away with glee.

Life is somewhat like a bank. We get out of it what we put into it and our balance and our transactions largely depend on us. For instance, if we spend and spend, and do not replenish, we will begin to run low or out of money completely. It is a difficult precept to teach a child. When my children were small, and wanted something in a store or something they had seen advertised on TV, and I said, “No, not now, we simply cannot afford it,” they would invariably answer, “Well, Mama, just write a check.” The concept had not formed in their little minds that for every check you write, the money must be deposited in the bank to cover it and that there are serious consequences for not having the balance on hand.

Actually, there are a good many adults that have never learned this concept. They tend to live above their means and spend what they do not have. One of the saddest things I have ever been told by a wise young adult is, “I don’t want to live like my mother. She never has any money and she lives on other people’s funds.” She went on to say, “She is always so unhappy and is constantly plotting and planning how to get something for free or how to convince people she knows to include her on a trip or to pay for whatever it is she is obsessed about having this week.” The woman is always involved in some kind of lawsuit hoping to score the big one. And, her family suffers because of her obsessions. That is a sad way to live.

I do not discount God’s ability to bless his children, and have seen him do it over and over again. What thrills my soul about these storehouses of our lives is that when we attempt to live a good, clean, helpful life, putting others first, reaching out to be a blessing to someone else, going the extra mile, and truly exemplifying Christ is that we are adding to our wealth of experience and blessing and placing big chunks of compassion into our storehouse. (Jude 22) We cannot work to be saved because Christ has already paid the price for us, but we can work to be a blessing to others.

When trouble comes, and it will, mark my word, the people that have put good things into their storehouses seem to react better. Their hearts may be breaking on the inside, but they can go on living and reaching out to help and bless others. It seems to me that they have a stronger, richer, more solid base from which to operate. I know and love a family that has three beautiful daughters. When the third child was on the way, they were happy and blessed.

When the third daughter was born, the physicians discovered she had a rare mutation of genes causing her to not be able to respond to anything. The father told me that she simply was still in her crib virtually limp and lifeless. As I understand it, there are only 90 people in the world with this particular mutation. This child cannot do anything for herself, eats no food, or drinks no water. She is fed through a tube and is carried or placed in a stroller or other device. It is sad, but my point in sharing is that this young couple did not throw up their hands and quit. They are active in the church, lead the youth group, go on outings, help people, and love each other, and they take good care of all three of their girls. They are relying on their storehouse filled with faith, love, dreams, and plans. And they have compassion, that wonderful commodity that changes lives.

Causes me to reevaluate what is in my storehouse and to consider what shelves I might tidy up or clean altogether.

Brenda Cannon Henley can be reached at (409) 781-8788, or
[email protected]


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