I had this Honda Accord years ago. Man, I liked that car. It was really nice, used very little gas, and ran smoothly down the road. And it looked great. Simply put, it was one sweet ride!
One night my brother, Condy, borrowed it. He was driving by himself down a dark, country road when the unthinkable happened. Train tracks were ahead of him and there were no bars or lights to let him know. As he crossed the tracks, a train came seemingly out of nowhere and collided with my car. Condy didn't mean for this to happen. It was just an unfortunate accident.
I heard about it an hour or so after it happened. We got a phone call, so my parents and I hurried to the ER at Toumey Hospital. There we found Condy unhurt for the most part. No major injuries, amazingly. And he went home with us about an hour later.
As I reflect on that experience, this goes through my mind: People are way more important than stuff.
Material possessions are temporary. They can be here today and gone tomorrow. The Bible talks about this when it describes "treasures on Earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal" (Matthew 6:19). Our stuff will not last forever. It will eventually become useless, fall apart, or be taken by someone else. And if it somehow does manage to last until our death, it will then be inherited by someone else. So either way, we do not enjoy our material possessions for eternity.
Human beings, however, are priceless. They are created and loved by God. And they have a soul that will live long after their bodies cease to function. That makes them highly valuable. And of course our relationships with them can last for many years. What a long-term blessing that is! Stuff can be replaced, but people can not. Each and every person you see is precious and worth a whole lot.
I was a typical older brother. At times I was alright, but there were other moments when I really was a jerk. The truth is, my attitude wasn't always great towards my brothers when I was a teenager. But that night, when I saw Condy in the ER, I wasn't mad at him one bit. It was just good to see the boy alive and well. He could have died in that wreck. But God spared him. And I was very glad to have him around for years to come.
Sure, I missed that car. I didn't want to lose it. But I was glad my brother survived, and that was good enough for me.
There's nothing wrong with money and material possessions. Nothing at all! Just don't get too attached to that stuff or make an idol out of it. Instead, love God and love people. Those relationships are what life is really about. That's where real joy is found. And that's what matters more than anything.