By David A. Sargent
Debris and lots of ashes. That was all that was left after heavy equipment demolished the remains of the home of Tony and Juanita Taylor in Luther, Oklahoma, after it was destroyed by a fire in December of 2016. The greatest loss was the life of Tony, Juanita’s 48-year-old husband.
In March 2017, a group of teens and chaperones from the Hartsville Pike Church of Christ in Gallatin, Tennessee, spent their spring break serving the community of Luther. One of the projects was to help clean up Juanita Taylor's property.
At least 2 loaded dumpsters of debris had been hauled away, but the group kept sifting through the debris to find any remaining valuable items for Juanita.
12-year-old Libby Rominger was digging through a pile of cookbooks that were mostly intact, when she spotted a plastic baggie in good condition with something in it. “We were told ahead of time there might be money in the house but no one had been able to find it,” said Libby. She couldn’t believe it when she spotted the baggie and what appeared to be a stack of cash inside.
The youth group also uncovered a Bible in good condition. The Bible and the baggie filled with money – approximately $4,500 – were presented to a grateful and tearful Juanita.
Out of the ashes, treasures were found. One treasure that will help pay the bills left after a devastating fire and the loss of a dear loved one; another treasure that serves as the guide to an eternal home.
Jesus told a brief parable to remind us of what is truly valuable: “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field” (Matthew 13:44).
The Greatest Treasure of all is to know Christ as our King and to be in His Kingdom! For in Christ’s kingdom, we have great spiritual and eternal blessings (Ephesians 1:3). “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace (Ephesians 1:7). “In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will” (Ephesians 1:11).
God will save and add to His kingdom those who place their faith and trust in Christ (Acts 16:30-31), turn from their sins in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10), and are baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38). He will continue to cleanse from sin those who continue to walk in the light of His Word (1 John 1:7).
Out of the ashes, true treasures can be found. Out of the grave, Jesus came bursting forth to reign from heaven over His eternal kingdom – the kingdom to which He desires to add YOU, if you will only submit to His rule today.
- David A. Sargent, minister for the Church of Christ at Creekwood in Mobile, Alabama, is also the editor of an electronic devotional entitled "Living Water." To learn more about this excellent resource contact David via their website: http://www.creekwoodcc.org
* Information gleaned from “Out of the Ashes” in The Luther Register (www.lutherregister.news), March 20, 2017, and the March 2017 issue of The Christian Chronicle of Oklahoma Christian University (see http://www.christianchronicle.org).