At one point in my life these trophies were my most prized possessions. I proudly displayed them on top of my dresser. When they became dusty, I meticulously cleaned them so they would once again become shiny. When the top of my dresser was no longer large enough to hold all of my trophies, I made a large bookcase during shop class at school to better display them.
My first trophies came from T-ball and Little League. Later, at the age of 11, I started entering free-throw contests sponsored by the Knights of Columbus. I earned my way to the state championship two years, winning the state championship once. That same year I earned a most valuable player trophy in a baseball tournament. I remember we lost our first game of the tournament, then worked our way back through the losers bracket to beat Iola twice in the championship round.
As I look back to my childhood I have such great memories of earning these awards. It was one of the greatest times in my life. How much fun it would be to go back to those carefree days, back when our purpose in life seemed to be nothing more than to play ball and have fun.
These trophies represented who I was at one point in life. They held a place of honor in my room and in my life. My sense of purpose and self-worth seemed to come from them. I realize now that life is not what I thought it was at age 11.
This picture was taken before I married and moved last year. Here I am 30 years later wondering what to do with something that once held such great value to me. Do I leave them in the same plastic tub they have been piled in since high school or trash them? Somehow, I doubt my wife wants them proudly displayed on our dresser.
As I contemplated what to do with my trophies I thought about a quote from James Dobson’s book, “When God Does Not Make Sense.” I read it not long after I became paralyzed and I recommend it to anyone who has endured or is enduring a tragedy or hardship. It is almost as good as my book, “Learning to Live With It”. (Ha, Ha). All joking aside, he wrote something I will never forget, “If you live long enough, life will trash your trophies.”
In Matthew 6:19-21(NIV), we find that Jesus had a similar outlook on our earthly treasures. Jesus said, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Life certainly has a way of teaching us that the things we earn and achieve here only seem to matter for a short time. Start laying up for yourselves treasures in heaven, because life is temporary and if you live long enough, life will trash your trophies.
For those of you that are wondering, yes, the trophies went to the trash. But the memories and the people I shared those good times with are the real treasure.