While my husband and I were out and about recently, we passed another construction site advertising a new storage facility that was being built. Have you noticed there are a lot of them around? I looked up some statistics. According to one website, there are more than 49,000 storage facilities in the United States – almost 2 billion square feet of space, bringing in almost $40 billion dollars of revenue.
I suppose there’s a lot of reasons one would need a storage unit, but every time I see a new one being built, I think, “How much do people really need?” If you have more than will fit in your house, isn’t that a bit excessive? Obviously, it’s often temporary as people make transitions from one place to another, or extra storage for a business, but if you’ve ever watched “Storage Wars,” you know that it’s human nature for people to hold onto a lot of “stuff.”
As a culture, we are often obsessed with accumulating things. I admit it – there are two people who live in my house, and I probably have 40 coffee mugs in my cabinet. (I love cute mugs.) Every season when I switch out my clothes, there are things packed up again that I never wore once. As a nation, we spend a lot of money on purely decorative things (think Hobby Lobby, Target, and TJ Maxx), and even more on making ourselves feel, look, and smell good! When did it become normal to have entire industries on beauty? When did we trade what is truly valuable for what we can see and touch?
That’s why I’m grateful for today’s gift: the gift of the unseen.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 – Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
The reason we love our “stuff” is that we know this “outer man” is decaying. If we do not have a real conviction and faith in the unseen things, our focus will be on making this life the most comfortable and enjoyable it can be. The “stuff” becomes our status and deceives us into thinking our lives have meaning. If we’re not careful, we can miss the “unseen” in the pursuit of the “seen.”
What are some of the “unseen” gifts God has given us? There are many! The love and acceptance of friends and family, the inner peace that comes from a settled relationship with our Creator, the satisfaction of sacrifice for and serving others, the fulfillment of a job well done, the contentment found in trusting God for provision, the understanding of spiritual truths, the encouragement shared with a timely word, the unexplained joy in the face of suffering, the full confidence in God’s unchanging character, the transformation of a heart when it responds to the gospel.
These are things we can’t put on a shelf to display; we can’t take them to the bank or store them in a climate-controlled facility. They are the hidden, unseen, gifts whose real value will only be revealed in eternity, and as spiritual souls who are only temporarily living in physical bodies, we know, deep down, the unseen has far more value than the seen. How sad would it be to believe that our lives are made up of only what we can see and touch?
Isaiah 64:4 – For from days of old they have not heard or perceived by ear, nor has the eye seen a God besides You, Who acts in behalf of the one who waits for Him.
1 Corinthians 2:9 – But just as it is written, “Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him.”
You might be a person who doesn’t have a lot of stuff, or you may be blessed with the ability to have pretty much anything you want. Or, you may be like me, somewhere in the middle! The good news is that all of us have equal opportunities to enjoy the unseen gifts of God. One day, all our “stuff” will be done away with, and the only things that will remain are that which is unseen. And then, the unseen will be revealed, and we will see the glory of God.
This Christmas, wrap up a few “unseen” gifts and share them with those around you. I promise, they will outlast the storage wars!