Do we value what we’re given?

It’s surprising what the dead leave behind! These leavings show us what they valued, or  what might have been discarded if death hadn’t overtaken them…

I’ve had to sort a few objects belonging to various family members. It’s hard to decide what to give away, or keep. And it’s often difficult to sense what they valued.

Here’s a relevant message that Jesus sent to one of the early churches. I’ve been puzzled about its meaning, particularly the words Jesus spoke at the end.

“… Listen to the Wind Words, the Spirit blowing through the churches. I’ll give the sacred manna to every conqueror; I’ll also give a clear, smooth stone inscribed with your new name, your secret new name” – Revelation 2:17 (The Message Bible).

Because I never really understood what Jesus meant by this new name, I haven’t cherished it. But a gift from Jesus shouldn’t be ignored. It’s a treasure.

Recently I found an interesting object when I was going through the mementos of Maurie’s brother, Vic. It’s a small piece of dull metal. After examining it and doing some research, I learnt that it’s an Identification Tag from WW2 belonging to an American serviceman. This information was on it: his name and Social Security Number, his next of kin and their address, the date of his last tetanus immunisation, and his blood group.

So did Vic find it in Australia, New Guinea, or in England when he was serving in the war? Was it given to him? I know it’s part of a pair, but we only have one.

I looked online and found the funeral details of a man who’d fought in the war. He died in 1996 and belonged to the Christian Brethren Church. Was he the owner of the tag? Then I discovered that the American Government owns these tags, not the serviceman or woman … or the finder. So we plan to send it to the Defence Department in Washington D.C., hoping that, after all these years, his family may be able to keep it.

I have these questions: Did this soldier value his tag? What did it mean to him? Was his life changed because he didn’t have it? We may never know.

In light of all this, I’ve taken another look at the scripture above, and thought about my attitude to the special stone Jesus said he’d give to those who won the victory. The Bible mentions many special stones, most of them engraved with words, especially names. That’s a hint to the meaning of this one. They were often reminders of God’s presence, of his promise to always be with us.

So no matter what situation we’re in, Jesus will give the conquerors something to carry everywhere. Something we can pull out at any time and remember what it means for us in our everyday life, and in emergencies. Do we really value this gift, or have we mislaid it somewhere? Like the American soldier’s tag, is our stone, with that good name deeply etched in it, floating around in places where it’s of no use to us? The American Government wouldn’t help us if we fronted up with that old ‘dog tag’ – it doesn’t have our name on it.

I wrote this post a long time ago, and retrieved the draft today. I must have that special stone on my mind; I wrote about it in my last post, remember? I still haven’t heard back from the Pentagon, and doubt if I ever will, considering the pandemic we’re experiencing now. ………………

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