real encouragement for real homeschooling moms

soul riches

“Sometimes more isn’t better, Linus. Sometimes it is just more.” Sabrina Fairchild

Thirty years ago we moved back to the US after living in Europe for 3½ years and without returning here during that time. I remember being amazed at the flatness of the landscape after living at the base of the Alps during our time in Germany. I remember being alarmed at the clutter that Americans allow everywhere from the outside of our houses to the city sidewalks. But more than anything, I remember being amazed at just how much stuff you could buy. After living on a small military post with few American items in the commissary and being unable to shop on the German economy on a sergeant’s salary, I was in awe of the things you could find in a single store. And that was in the days before Target and Wal-Mart, not to mention the super stores!

After my grandmother died, the whole family, her sons, their wives and children, and grandchildren went to her house to choose what things they might like to have. There were a few valuable items…several handmade quilts, a china cabinet with curved glass, an oak table my grandfather had purchased when they were married in 1914 (I was the blessed recipient of it simply because I had the most children) and various other treasures. But by and large her home looked like most others whose owners that had come through the Great Depression. Drawers held bits of string, cabinets stored chipped china tea cups, and the rag rugs were made from real rags.

Inside one of her storage boxes we found worn brown grocery bags covered with lists of items purchased along with how much she had paid for each one…10 cents for a dozen eggs, 35 cents for a pound of sugar, 20 cents for large can of peaches. She had lived very meagerly for most of her life, a fact that was even more apparent when a bank book to a secret account was found, showing she had hoarded away nearly $60,000 from grandpa’s pension checks after he’d died!

Every day now we hear bad news about our economy and many in my generation, baby boomers who grew up in the luxury of the 1950’s, are panicked because they see portfolios growing anemic and real estate investments dwindling. Ours is the first generation that has not lived with the direct ramifications of the Depression and we don’t know how to handle it. Things that are truly luxuries have become “necessities.” The same is true, even more so, for our children.

But what are true riches? And what kind of inheritance should we be building for our children? Scripture is very clear. “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (Matthew 6:19-21)

The word “treasure” isn’t just talking about something you like a little, it implies a treasury, a great store house for all the incredible assets you can collect. Egyptians buried their earthly wealth in their tombs and it is said that those who found King Tutankhaman’s burial vault were shocked at the nearly 3500 items it contained and so much gold that it “blinded their eyes!” Jesus told the multitude of listeners to forget storing up earthly goods that can be destroyed and instead to seek after a plentiful inheritance of those things that enrich not the body but the spirit, treasures of the eternal sort.

English Puritan pastor Jeremiah Burrows describes these treasures as “soul riches” and says that only those who learn how to be truly content will be able to gather those things that are of eternal value. He describes Christian contentment as “that sweet, inward, quiet, gracious frame of spirit, which freely submits to and delights in God’s wise and fatherly disposal in every condition.” In essence, soul riches are those things that we cannot buy or sell at a garage sale!

Moms, I pray that you are seeking to be content, as the apostle Paul said “in whatever state you find yourself” and that you are passing along that attitude to your children, especially now when economic wealth is in the news and on the lips of everyone daily. Seek to pass along spiritual truths, especially as found in God’s Word, testimonies of His goodness and grace to us, poured out way beyond measure. In so doing you will be storing up eternal treasures for yourself and will be giving your children an inheritance that cannot be taken from them.



  Kathy wrote @

Thank you, Karen–I loved this post, and the term “soul riches”. It really summarizes it well. With all the grasping to hang on to wealth that we hear and see, the verse keeps coming back to me, “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:36) My dh and I want our souls to be rich, if it means going hungry and giving away what we have to others who are in need, especially those who don’t have the hope of the greater treasure in eternity that we do. I know we are blessed to have a good job, health and financial cushion, but I hope we could say the same thing if God chooses to take these from us.

  Cahleen wrote @

I came across your blog via the True Womanhood blog, and I just loved this post. I can relate to a lot of what you said because my husband and I have lived overseas for the past 3 years, and we just recently went home to L.A. for our first visit since we moved. I was shocked at the way people whined about not being able to afford things that were, in my opinion, luxuries and not necessities. Americans need to learn that what they consider to be a bare bones sort of existence is more comfortable than most of the people in the rest of the world can even imagine.

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