Keeping Up With the Joneses

Joplin, MO.  Japan.  New York City, NY.  Bismarck, ND.  What do all these have in common?  A great display of human spirit and compassion in times of devastation.  A time when “keeping up with the Joneses” isn’t nearly as important as “helping out the Joneses”.

As I was helping my brother-in-law and sister-in-law move out of their south Bismarck twin home I was overwhelmed with the gravity of the potential flood situation for a large section of Bismarck.  As we drove through the neighborhoods lined with cars, sandbags and “bucket brigades” building barriers my wife was moved to tears and my six year old would pray that “Jesus will keep them safe”.

What struck me most through this situation was the unity displayed as neighbor helped neighbor.  There was no comparison of who was worth more, who had more “toys”, or who had the most to lose.  A great display of human spirit rising when faced with adversity was evident.  So many have given to “help out the Joneses”.  Whether filling sandbags, distributing water, building walls, or praying…the entire community is being affected.

It made me think, once again, of the valuable things in life.  Having watched potential flood victims decide what is important to them, or watching those affected by the devastation with the rash of tornadoes, you began to see what is truly valuable in this life.  I have not seen any one pilfering through rubble of a devastated home looking for that Xbox gaming system or home entertainment system.  Instead a cherished memory encased in a shattered frame, when found, brings some sense of relief in a time of grief.  Men aren’t clamoring trying to find their fishing rods, but instead are trying to salvage the desktop photo of their bride on their wedding day.  It might be grandpa’s old pocket knife, a chipped mug, or a precious cookbook.  What makes these things extraordinary is not the materialism, but it is the memories they represent.

Memories are forged in the fires of action.  We can get so caught up in this game of life, that we lose the moments of living.  The Bible tells us that our life is just a vapor, here one moment and then gone the next.  It’s times like these we see what is worth living for, what really matters most, and what we really cherish.

Today was my son’s last day of kindergarten.  I just tucked him into bed and he is anxious for morning.  We have plans to go help sandbag and he is wanting to help in any way he can.  Today’s actions and tomorrow’s plans will turn into memories one day for me and my little boy.  I want him to know that it is very rewarding when you join with a community in need and “help out the Joneses”.

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