Friday, July 19, 2019

What's In Your Wallet?


On the evening of April 14, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln while attending a play with his wife, was shot in the back of his head by a rebel sympathizer, John Wilkes Booth.  The doctors could do nothing but wait for the inevitable.  At 7:22 a.m. of the next day, Lincoln succumbed to his wound.  The whole Nation fell into shock.  For years afterward, people could tell you where they were, what they were doing, and how they felt at the moment they heard the news.  Not unlike when many of us heard of John F. Kennedy's assassination.  

One of the stranger details passed down to us, were the contents in Lincoln's pockets.  His coat and pant pockets contained two pairs of spectacles, a pocket knife, a linen handkerchief, and a wallet.  Within the wallet were nine newspaper clippings and a Confederate five dollar bill.  What is striking to my mind is the ordinariness of the items he was carrying.  Obviously, some were needed for their daily practical purposes: the glasses, knife, handkerchief, for example.  It is the contents of the wallet that gives me pause.  Why newspaper clippings?  Why keep a worthless Confederate note?  Maybe they were there as gentle reminders of some event, or were touchstones to the great sacrifices of the War, or maybe of stunning victories.  Only Lincoln knows for sure.  We may ask him someday.  

These simple, ordinary items speak of Lincoln, the man.  Before he was President of the United States or Commander and Chief of the Union Army, he was just a man:  a son, a husband, a father, a lawyer, just an ordinary person.  He was a man of two worlds. He had his duties as a husband, father, and friend.  Yet, it is by his service to this Nation that he is best remembered.  It is because of that service his life continues to bear fruit.  When Lincoln passed away, Secretary Of War Edwin Stanton spoke this epitaph of the president, "Now he belongs to the ages." It is not the ordinary things we remember of Lincoln's life, but it was the extraordinary.

Let us now speak of us.  As a Christian, what are the things you hold dear?  What are the gentle, yet powerful memories that you use to spur you on to greater service for your Lord?  As God's people we are of two worlds.  There is our life of: eating, sleeping, earning a living, loving and raising a family, being a good friend and neighbor, and then there is the life which will count for the ages.  A well known TV commercial asks the question, "What's in your wallet?"  What are the past victories for Jesus in your wallet?  Let them spur you on.  What are the past sacrifices you joyfully gave for the King?  Are you willing to make new spiritual news clippings for the Kingdom of God?  What are you willing to hold onto for God's Glory, even though the world thinks it is worthless?  The Word of God reminds us that the things the World believes are of value, are quite different to what God knows are valuable.  God knows what has permanent, everlasting worth.  Scripture states, "Each man's work will become evident, for in the day of judgment it will be tested ...if any man's work remains after being judged, then he will receive a reward."  1 Corinthians 3:13,14

Let me end with a line from a famous poem by C.T. Studd, "Only one life, 'twill soon be past, only what's done for Christ will last.  And when I am dying, how happy I'll be, if the lamp of my life has been burnt out for Thee."

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