My family and I lived at the end of a long driveway that we shared with one neighbor who lived beside us. Bob lived at the bottom of this driveway close to the road. I can still see him walking up and down the edge of his yard beside our driveway picking up rocks from his yard and throwing them back in the road. He hated rocks in his yard which was caused mainly by people driving too fast. My family always respected him by driving slowly up our lane and asked others to do the same.
As I grew up Bob never stopped taking great care of his yard. He always mowed his lawn, weeded around his house, and mulched his trees and flowers. His property was always clear of clutter and trash. His house, front and back, was always neat and clean. This was important to him. However, after he died his house and property were sold. The family that came after him did not share his same passion for the yard and house.
Now many years later I have seen all the hard work and effort that Bob daily put into his yard amount to absolutely nothing. Those beautiful tall trees he planted in the back of his property were cut down. The immaculate yard is now used as a parking lot, a dog pen, and a trash heap. His clean, white house was painted brown. The garage is a place for anything but a vehicle.
King Solomon saw the same things happening around him when he wrote the book of Ecclesiastes. Solomon writes, "I hated all the things I had toiled for under the sun, because I must leave them to the one who comes after me. And who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? Yet he will have control over all the work into which I have poured my effort and skill under the sun. This too is meaningless" (Ecc. 2:19)
So the lesson I learned from Bob has been not to pour my life into the temporary, meaningless things of this world that are here today and gone tomorrow but to "store up for myself treasures in heaven" (Matthew 6:20). I remember this the most when I am sweeping my kitchen for the 4th time in a day, wiping fingerprints off my french door windows, or anytime I see something that needs to be cleaned. Instead I jump on the trampoline with my children. I put down what I'm doing to call a friend. I open my Bible and ask God to keep reminding me what my priorities should be so meaningless things will not occupy my time.