by Stephanie Connelly
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
I have a treasure chest in my cottage home. On the outside, it looks like an ordinary box. It is rectangular in shape with a lid that fits snugly and it is not very large. Now, if a thief were to break in my cottage and look for valuables to steal, he may open this treasure chest, but he wouldn’t bother taking anything out of it. To the thief, it would just look like a box full of old photos, old letters and cards, and a few little trinkets — worthless to him.
But not to me. This box—this treasure chest—is PRICELESS! You see, it holds a bunch of photos (yes, photos used to be something that you actually printed off on paper) of my family, of dear friends, of special places that I have been. Looking back through them brings such wonderful memories and gratitude always fills my heart. It also holds a ton of cards and letters that I have received over the years. Many of the letters in my treasure chest are affirmation letters that I received at Pilgrimage. These affirmation letters are reminders of how much I am loved — by God (We love because He first loved us! 1 John 4:19) and by my family and friends. The words of affirmation in these cards and letters brought tears of gratitude, of joy, of overwhelming unconditional love when I read them for the very first time. And even after days, months, and years have passed, re-reading those affirmation letters restores me, building me up, offering me hope, making me laugh … bringing joy to my heart! Their value is beyond compare! They affirm that I am a treasured child of God!
Remember how I shared in my talk that the only antonym for the word “affirm” is “deny”? I cautioned you not to deny yourself the loving truths and the sweet words of affirmation contained in the letters you were to receive. Then, as you received your bag of letters, you heard the words “LISTEN and RECEIVE.” Today I would like to remind you not to deny yourself the joy, the encouragement, the uplifting of your spirit that you can experience any time that you choose — by re-reading the affirmation letters that you received the weekend of Pilgrimage. They contain a richness that the things of this world can never provide. They are—in essence—love letters from God!
Re-read them, savor them, TREASURE them! LISTEN and RECEIVE — LISTEN and RECEIVE!!!