What To Keep

What to Keep

In the mid-1990s my mother’s house was hit by lightning and burned to the ground. Following the fire, she faced the decision of what to keep from the little that remained. She refused to leave her property in the country and move to town. Instead, she purchased a mobile home and placed it on the land which had been in her family for generations.

One of the things Pilot and I did to help Mom after her new home arrived, was go through the few belongings which survived the fire to help her decide what to keep and what to throw away.

Opinions Differ on What to Keep

Funny how what one person treasures, another finds little use for.

I have vivid memories of Pilot and me sweating under the very hot southern Georgia summer heat, as we washed various kitchen items that survived. As we washed, my mother, aunt, and uncle sat chatting inside the air conditioned living room.

Whenever I found something I felt was beyond saving and should be thrown away, I had to clear it with Mom first. I’d hold the item up to the sliding glass window, and she would shake her head yes or no.

Before I washed the dull, long-bladed knife which had been around since before I was born, I knew for sure Mom would agree it needed to be tossed.

The point at the end of the knife broke off long ago when Mom used it to pry something open. Spots of rust dotted both sides of the blade. Surely she would agree there was no need to keep the thing.

Still, I knew I needed to get her approval first before I threw it away.

I held the knife to the slider. Mom shook her head no. 

Not satisfied with her answer, I opened the slider and explained the obvious reasons why I should not waste time washing something so useless. “I started housekeeping with that knife.” was all she said, and I proceeded to wash it. Shaking my head and grumbling.

I’m not sure how many times Mom used that knife after that, but I do know the dull, broken, long-bladed, rust-spotted knife stayed in Mom’s kitchen until the day we moved her into a nursing home decades later.

Struggling to Know What to Keep in our Spiritual Life

As I pondered this memory, I thought of how sometimes we struggle with knowing what to keep and what to throw away in our spiritual life.

Sometimes we hold onto beliefs we learned years earlier in our Christian walk which, upon closer inspection and deeper biblical study, are not scriptural.

We believe certain things because our parents believed them.

We heard a preacher say something once which we kinda still believe, but aren’t really sure.

Some author somewhere wrote something people talked about, so it must have some basis for truth.

Discerning What to Keep

Instead of relying on things we’ve heard others say, how about we search the scriptures and discover God’s truth for ourselves?

What say we become students of the Word to gain a clearer understanding, and once we gain that understanding, apply God’s truth to our lives?

Instead of using a dull, broken, long-bladed, rust-spotted, incomplete understanding of the Truth, let’s determine to sharpen our learning so our knowledge will lead us to a fuller understanding of what to keep and what to throw away.

Your Turn

Is there anything around your home you’ll admit you hang onto that should be thrown away? I know there are many things Pilot and I have we should toss.

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. 1 Corinthians 13:12 (NLT)

You can find my November Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.


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4 thoughts on “What To Keep

  1. When Chief retired, we lived in our home for 13 years; longest time I’d ever lived anyplace. By the time I’d made the third trip to the county dump, the gatekeeper asked if I was collecting for the neighborhood.

    Now that we’ve lived in this home for 18 years, I look around and realize that our son probably won’t keep much…but like Mom, I treasure a couple of things from when we were first married. However, there is a mountain of “junk” that I’d need to borrow Pilot’s van to take to the dump. 🙂


  2. Thanks for the great blog. I’m so thankful I can seek God and He guides me – and lets me know when I need to let go of something.


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