2 Kings 7:12-20 (Part 2) – You Never See A U-Haul Behind A Hearse

Posted: May 20, 2019 in 12-2 Kings

2 Kings 7:12-20 (Part 2 of 3)

Israel Plunders the Camp

This morning begins the last full day in our house here in Rock Island, IL. We have been packing up our personal belongings within our house for the last couple of weeks. What we have remaining to pack today are the minor things but necessary things that we cannot pack until tonight and first thing in the morning. Tonight, before we go to bed, we will pack up all the media electronics. Tomorrow morning, we will pack up all the bathroom stuff and the kitchen utensils and cookware and that will be it. The movers come tomorrow morning to pick up all our stuff and that will be it. We will close out the house and go spend the night at a local hotel Tuesday night. Wednesday morning, we drive off from the Quad Cities for the last time. We will spend the next 5 weeks as vagabonds of sorts, bouncing from house to house of friends we left behind in Lyman, SC, of family in Liberty, SC and Huntersville, NC before we settle in at the parsonage at our new church in Lamar, SC in late June.

What we have learned over the last few moves that we have made is that there is stuff that you just can’t take with you when you move. One thing that we humans do when we have homes is that we accumulate stuff. We accumulate clothes. We accumulate trinkets. We accumulate things. We accumulate documents. We accumulate the “oh I might use that later” kinds of things. Most of us are not hoarders but we often keep stuff with full intention of using it later but never do and it just becomes stuff. Our general rule of thumb that we have developed is that we have not used it or worn it in over a year…then it’s candidate for being thrown away or donated to Goodwill or the Salvation Army. We have learned in our last few moves that less is better. Sure there are sentimental things that we keep. For example, I have, I think, every special occasion card that Elena has ever given me in the almost 12 years that we have known each other (nine of which we have been married). I will not throw those things away. Family pictures and other family history memory reminders that are treasured will remain with us always (so that we can pass them on to our children). Other than those things, though, everything else is fair game. We have learned over the years that things are just things. They are not essential. As long as Elena and I have each other, the trappings of life are just not that important.

One of my wife’s favorite shows is the HGTV network show, “Love It or List It” where people are given the option of keeping their current home after a remodel done by the show or buying a new home that is ready-made to meet all their “must-haves” in a home. It just shocks me about what people today consider “must-haves” in a home. Are ya kidding me? They will refuse to consider beautiful new or newer homes than what they currently have because it does not meet their “must-have” checklist. The things that we consider important in homes just blows your mind. I guess I am just too simple. As long as I have a place to lay my head (a decent bed) and ESPN during college football season, I can live pretty much anywhere. For Elena, it would be HGTV and maybe TBS instead of ESPN but the idea is the same. Maybe, it’s because we both have been through divorces and starting over, but I think it has more to do with finding our joy in the Lord rather than in things. We live modestly so we don’t have fancy stuff to begin with. We do not want high dollar things because they have high dollar price tags and often financing associated with them. We don’t want to become thing-rich and cash-poor. We want the contentment of knowing if we have the opportunity to be generous that we can be. We can part with things pretty easily. We have thrown away a lot of stuff, again, over these past few weeks of packing. Why? Because things are just not important. Relationships are, but things are not.

When we walk away from the Quad Cities, we will miss our house. It is a cute 1914 farmhouse style home but it’s a non-essential in the grand scheme of things. What we will miss more is the relationships that we have made here in just a year and a half. Good friends. Dear friends. Friends that we have impacted. Friends that have impacted us. Deep conversations to get to the heart of things. Silly conversations that veer off in to comedy land that make your sides hurt from laughter. And those are the things that we will treasure most and keep and not throw away. Things that I have not worn in over a year got thrown away. Things that I have not used in over a year were thrown a year. Old papers of bills long since paid. Things that I thought that were important to keep but turned out not to be were thrown away. Relationships though…those we will keep.

There’s an old saying that “you will never see a U-Haul trailer behind a hearse” and it is true. And the other similar saying, “You can’t take it with you when you die” seems appropriate at this time of change in our lives. You keep the things that matter – relationships and momentos of those relationships, those you keep, the things that matter. Everything else is just clutter.

That’s what I thought of this morning as I read through 2 Kings 7:12-20 for a second time this morning. I thought about how the Arameans in their panicked rush to leave their camp that they left virtually everything behind. They left with what only what was essential for their journey. That’s the thing that struck me this morning. What’s essential? Let’s read the passage now:

12 The king got out of bed in the middle of the night and told his officers, “I know what has happened. The Arameans know we are starving, so they have left their camp and have hidden in the fields. They are expecting us to leave the city, and then they will take us alive and capture the city.”

13 One of his officers replied, “We had better send out scouts to check into this. Let them take five of the remaining horses. If something happens to them, it will be no worse than if they stay here and die with the rest of us.”

14 So two chariots with horses were prepared, and the king sent scouts to see what had happened to the Aramean army. 15 They went all the way to the Jordan River, following a trail of clothing and equipment that the Arameans had thrown away in their mad rush to escape. The scouts returned and told the king about it. 16 Then the people of Samaria rushed out and plundered the Aramean camp. So it was true that six quarts of choice flour were sold that day for one piece of silver, and twelve quarts of barley grain were sold for one piece of silver, just as the Lord had promised. 17 The king appointed his officer to control the traffic at the gate, but he was knocked down and trampled to death as the people rushed out.

So everything happened exactly as the man of God had predicted when the king came to his house. 18 The man of God had said to the king, “By this time tomorrow in the markets of Samaria, six quarts of choice flour will cost one piece of silver, and twelve quarts of barley grain will cost one piece of silver.”

19 The king’s officer had replied, “That couldn’t happen even if the Lord opened the windows of heaven!” And the man of God had said, “You will see it happen with your own eyes, but you won’t be able to eat any of it!” 20 And so it was, for the people trampled him to death at the gate!

In this passage, we that the Arameans had accumulated a lot of STUFF during their siege of Samaria. They had taken all the supplies and food that was supposed to be sold and traded in Samaria from the surrounding markets and farms. They had a lot of stuff. But when it counted, when they had to leave, they left it all behind. The stuff did not matter.

That’s the point to me this morning. What is it that matters? What is it that is essential? To me, that is the joy and contentment that comes from having a deep and abiding relationship with Jesus Christ. Everything else is just window dressing. None of the things that we accumulate on this earth really matters. The fine houses. The fine cars. The latest electronics. The stuff. The stuff we work so hard to buy and put in our places we live. It’s nice and I am not against having nice things, mind you. But when it becomes the reason we live, then we got it all wrong. If we have to work all the time to pay for our stuff. If we are just a couple of paychecks away from being homeless because of all our stuff that we have to pay for…then we got it all wrong.

This is not what God wants for us. He wants us to be free from clutter. He wants there not to be anything in the way our relationship with Him. He wants us to live simply so that we can be generous. He wants us to live on less than we make so we can seize opportunities to be Christ to those around us. He wants us to have the freedom to walk away from our stuff and follow His call on our lives. And above all just for us, He wants us to be content. He does not want us frantic all the time where we get so wrapped up in our stuff that we cannot see Him for worrying about our stuff. Stuff is not important. Relationships are. Relationships with family, friends, and with the One That Matters Most of All – God…because you never see a U-Haul behind a hearse.

Amen and Amen.

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