by Donny Abbott on August 14, 2023
You may or may not know this obscure fact about me — I’m a huge Elvis fan. This is also true of my entire family as I was growing up. Mom, Dad, Grandma, aunts, uncles — all Elvis fans. In 1956, my dad was in the Air Force stationed at Loring Air Force Base in Caribou, Maine. It was there that he and my mom met, and a year later they were married. For Christmas that year, my dad received a gift from his parents in the mail: Elvis’ second album that was released on RCA Records.
It’s vintage Elvis, capturing the raw rock n’ roll feel that characterized his music in the mid-fifties. It is such a great album.
Handwritten on the cover, in the right-hand corner, was a small note that my grandma wrote to my dad. It said something like, “Merry Christmas, miss you…love mom and dad.”
My dad, upon receiving this gift, opened it immediately, thinking, “Who is Elvis?” and “What kind of name is that?” Despite his hesitation, he held onto the album, and I listened to that record hundreds of times when I was growing up. Needless to say, now that my mom, dad, and grandparents have all passed on, this album has increased in value to me.
The only problem is, I have no idea where it is.
Two years ago, my mom died and my brother and I sold her house and somehow, in cleaning out her belongings, that album was misplaced. The truth is, I really don’t place much stock in earthly things. My most valuable possessions are the three baseballs I caught at Major League baseball games (one for each of my boys). I still have the 30-30 Winchester rifle my dad bought for me when I was small. Those things and this Elvis album are really the only earthly, physical things that are very dear to me.
But I am reminded of the words of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew 6.
Here Jesus is sharing with a large crowd of people practical ways they can live their lives that is pleasing to God. This is part of what has become known as the Sermon on the Mount. Here Jesus says:
"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
— Matthew 6:19-21
This passage serves as a great reminder to me to live my life with open palms, not grasping and holding onto the things of this world. But instead, I need to hold onto things that will matter in Heaven. So, what are those things? Jesus tells us in the rest of His message:
- Be humble and pure in heart (Matthew 5:5, 8)
- Hunger and thirst for righteousness (Matthew 5:6)
- Show mercy (Matthew 5:7)
- Make peace (Matthew 5:9)
- Follow God’s commands (Matthew 5:19)
- Resist anger (Matthew 5:22)
- Be faithful to your spouse (Matthew 5:28, 32)
- Keep your word (Matthew 5:37)
- Turn the other cheek (Matthew 5:39)
- Provide for physical needs (Matthew 5:40, 42)
- Go the extra mile (Matthew 5:41)
- Love your enemies (Matthew 5:44)
- Pray for those who persecute you (Matthew 5:44)
- Give to the needy (Matthew 6:3)
- Practice forgiveness (Matthew 6:12)
- Fast (Matthew 6:16)
- Don’t worry (Matthew 6:25)
- Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness (Matthew 6:33)
- Pursue the things of God (Matthew 7:7)
These are the things that will matter in Heaven because as Jesus says, the things of this world are going to pass away. All material things will be left behind, and that includes old Elvis records. It is the sentimental value such things represent that becomes part of our soul and will endure beyond the realm of the physical.