Years ago, when I was a child, my grandparents owned Overman's Shoe Repair and Sales shop in Springfield, Ohio. I have many fond memories of that shoe shop as a child. Being the oldest grandchild, I probably got to spend more time with my grandparents than some of the younger grandchildren — at least I got to spend my time there before I started school. I can remember spending many a day in the back of the shop. Grandpa would give me a piece of old leather and I'd work on whatever my child's mind thought of making that day.
I remember being fascinated with all of the containers and boxes of small nails, toe and heel taps, glue, heels, replacement shoe soles, brushes, polish, and of course the powerful grinders and polishers. One of the most fascinating pieces of equipment was the large sewing machine that so amazingly hooked those two pieces of waxed string together repairing thousands of shoes and other leather articles. I remember the smell of the new leather, the smell of rubber cement, and smell of shoe polish as I relive those times. I still have the pair of sandals my grandfather hand made for me as a toddler. My brother Lynn, who owns a leather shop in Florida, now has the old sewing machine.
In the front of my grandparents store were shelves full of men's and women's shoes and boots. To one side they had an old roll top desk and a big safe. The desk was always stacked with all sorts of things, and I loved to look through all of the papers, drawers and various items that ended up on and in that old desk.
On the counter, they had an old manual (not electric) cash register, and at special times, I would be allowed to push some of the big keys and watch the numbers pop up on top.
Those times are long past and the shoe shop has been closed for many years. My grandparents have departed this earth, yet the memories remain of those special things and special times.
One thing especially stands out in these memories. Many people often paid my grandparents with silver dollars. You don't see that any more, it's too inconvenient to carry those big pieces of metal now. Of course you didn't need to carry near as many of them in those days. Silver dollars are a special memory to me for another reason: they were grandma and grandpa's savings. They put aside the silver dollars that came into the shop to purchase special things. They also used these silver dollars to give to their grandchildren on their birthdays. I still have a couple of those old silver dollars they gave me. No, they are not collector's pieces, they are not worth a whole lot more than a dollar to anyone else, but to me they hold memories and are priceless.
I can't help remembering once again Jesus' words about realizing what is really important in life. Jesus said:
Don't store up treasures here on earth, where they can be eaten by moths and get rusty, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where they will never become moth eaten or rusty and where they will be safe from thieves. Wherever your treasure is, there your heart and thoughts will also be (Matthew 6:19-21 NLT).
As I remember these times from my past, I have to stop and consider what it is that I truly value most in my life? My relationship with God is first, of course, and then my family and friends. But the "things" I have really don't mean very much to me; it's relationships that are really most valuable. "Things" sometimes represent the memories of relationships — that is what makes them precious, not their monetary value. That's why many people treasure a simple Cross in their home, because of the memories it provokes in them. That's also why Jesus instituted the "Lord's Supper" or "Communion," to keep the memories of his sacrifice fresh in our minds.
The question perhaps each of us needs to ask ourselves is, just what is it we really treasure? What is it in our lives we would most hate to loose and why? We remember that, "Wherever your treasure is, there your heart and thoughts will also be." We know that what we choose to treasure will be the path we have chosen not just for this life, but also eternally!