Bible Society of South Africa

Collect only what is valuable - 19 September 2023

By Ben Fourie

Bible text(s)

The Twentieth Saying

3Homes are built on the foundation of wisdom and understanding. 4Where there is knowledge, the rooms are furnished with valuable, beautiful things.

Proverbs 24:3-4GNBOpen in Bible reader

This proverb reminded me of a time when we visited a venue called “Kamers vol geskenke” (rooms full of gifts). The rooms were stocked with all kinds of beautiful things – handcrafted gifts, jewellery, art and many more. They were very nice and very interesting. Other “rooms” that I remember well are those of Duwisib Castle in Namibia, the small church museum in King Williams Town, Reinethuis in Graaff-Reinet and many other places with rooms filled with beautiful and precious things.

The rooms in my own house are also filled with many things. They might not be as precious as those in museums and palaces, but to me, they are very precious, because they represent a lifetime of collections. Our whole life is also a house that has been built, hopefully on the foundation of wisdom and understanding, with many rooms that need to be filled by us.

What do we collect to fill our non-physical house? We fill it with the presence of people like our family, friends, colleagues and fellow Christians. We also fill it with experiences of love and sorrow, memories of places we have visited, things we have done and, above all, with what we believe about God. Unfortunately, we also fill too much space with the rubbish of bad relationships, anger, a yearning for more money and many other such things.

Some rooms that I have visited gave me a feeling of claustrophobia, because there were too many things in them. Others did not speak to me, as they gave me the feeling of being hard, cold and unfriendly. The same can happen to the rooms in our lives. Some are cluttered with worldly worries, while other rooms might show a cold shoulder to whoever wants to enter. The proverb tells us that it takes wisdom and knowledge to fill our rooms with precious and beautiful things. Wisdom, understanding and knowledge are gifts from God to those who really want it. Let us fill our lives with the most beautiful thing of all, the love that Paul wrote about in 1 Corinthians 13.

Prayer: Dear Lord, please make me a collector of the most precious of all possessions – hope, faith and love. Amen

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