I set out to tackle a task I had put off for many years. I didn’t really want to do it at all. It was the job of cleaning out my ministry storage closet. A closet filled with boxes of memories collected over twenty years.
- Old magazines with articles I had written dating back to 1996.
- Thirty-six-inch vinyl posters of book covers beginning in 1999.
- A 3-foot lighthouse used in a teaching on motherhood.
- A treasure box of oyster shells mixed with a strand of pearls used in another teaching on what can happen with irritations that get under our skin.
- Videos of past interviews from television programs that probably don’t even exist any longer.
- A box of CDs from ten years of recording Proverbs 31 Ministries radio programs. “Hi, I’m Sharon Jaynes with Proverbs 31 Ministries. Have you ever…”
The programs played through my mind as I dumped one storage bin after another into plastic bags—pieces of my life into black drawstring Hefties. Corners of posters, magazines, cassettes, note-filled binders, and CDs poked through the plastic bags as if trying to escape.
Twenty years. Ten trash bags.
I put the bags out by the street and pondered my day’s work. You’d think I would have been happy to have cleaned out all that clutter, but something inside me ached.
“So that’s it then,” I whispered as I walked away from twenty years of accumulated memories.
The next day my heart felt just about as empty as the newly cleaned shelves…until I opened my email. A word of encouragement waited for me in my inbox. A woman told me about how something I had written had given her the courage to face another day. I won’t go into the details, but her email opened my eyes and my heart to something I already knew, but had forgotten for just a moment.
Those ten trash bags didn’t contain twenty years of ministry or memories. Why? Because memories can’t be put in a trash bag. Because people’s lives can’t be put in a trash bag.
It isn’t our accomplishments and accolades that matter in this life, but the people we impact and the lives we’ve loved.
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends (1 Corinthians 13:1-8 ESV).
And you can’t put that in a trash bag.
As you move into a new year, you might feel the urge to clean out some closets and let go of things you’ve been holding onto. If you decide to downsize, you might have to throw away some tangible reminders of times past.
But remember, things are things. Love never ends. And no one can take that away from you.
Heavenly Father, more than anything, I want to glorify Your name while here on this earth. Help me to never cling to earthly treasures, but to live open handed. Thank You for the reminder that the most important thing in this world is to love You with all my heart and to love my neighbor—those who cross my path.
What was the one thing that Paul said he did in Philippians 3:13-14? Have you ever known anyone to cling to something good such as a high school accomplishment, one mountaintop experience, or one accolade? What do you think Paul would have to say about that? How could clinging to such keep someone from moving ahead to the next thing God has for him or her? When you leave this earth, and your worldly possessions are put in trash bags, who are the lives that you have touched that will always remain?
These moments of God speaking to me in the middle of the mundane is what I call a sudden glory—when God makes his presence known. Sudden glory moments shouldn’t be rare in our lives, but daily occurrences. If you would like to learn more about how to experience God’s presence in your everyday life, then A Sudden Glory: God’s Lavish Response to Your Ache for Something More is just for you. It also comes with a study guide in the back.
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Thank You Sharon for this devotional. I too is in de-cluttering mode these days. I am also half hearted to throw away all my paper stuff in my room because I have this attitude of scribbling all my prayers and writing down the date and time I wrote it…yes like journaling but some were in different notebooks where I felt like writing my emotion during “those days” I want to pour our my heart to GOD. Reading back all those past musings of my heart, there is one thing so obvious to me, that GOD through all those years ( 7 years of musing) …GOD has not forsaken me and here is what is more amazing, GOD obviously even carried me to bear a fruit for Him this 2022. Praise GOD! GLORY TO GOD! GOD’S words are so, so true. All my time, my musings were never wasted. Thank GOD I remained in Him. In John 15:5 Jesus is saying to us….”Remain in Me so you may bear so much fruit.”
Thank GOD! I remained believing and trusting in Your saving grace, mercy, love and favor O LORD.
Thank you for sharing this Sharon. Ms Myra, I want to thank you because your comments of how Sharon blessed you has blessed me. Wow! May God’s grace and peace cover you all as we prepare to embark on a new year with more rejoicing and greater confidence in our Savior, in Jesus Name.
Sharon, I recently read your book “Sudden Glory”, actually I used it as a morning devotional, awesome.! It touch my heart, caused me to really reflect on how I move about my daily life.
I’ve struggle with what glory really is and where is it. Thank you Lord Jesus, it is always there, I just need to pause enough to see and appreciate it!
Thank you Sharon
Thank you so much for the encouragement. You’ll never know how much it means to me! In heaven, let’s get coffee and talk long!
Sharon, I want to sit at that table and have coffee with you girls, too!
Your words are a light shining for Him in a dark world.
You are officially invited! Tell them Jesus sent you!
Sharon, somehow you write exactly what I need at least once every week. Thank you for your help and God bless you!
Isn’t it Amazing how God gives us what we need when we need it!
Thank you. Today’s devotion rings so very true. For me. I am in the same stage of life you are, and I am discovering that my heart aches not for things, but more for leaving love. God bless. Thank you for reaching out and relating to others.
Such a timely reminder! I have been dragging my feet about cleaning out/de-cluttering. Each item, a memory, a “this may be useful if” or even “one of my kids may want this” decision to be made. In reality, they are “things” and my life should not be tied to things, but to His truth and the love attached to that!
Thank you for your sharing your insights and His love with others!
What a wonderful message!
I was reminded of the time in church we were asked to substitute our name where “love” was in these verses. Ouch! Then substitute Jesus’s name where “love” is. Oh how we miss the mark and need Jesus!
Thank you for your words of wisdom Sharon!
We all do. Jars of clay often have cracks.
Yes, Sharon! My heartfelt passion is to IMPACT others for our ABBA, FATHER. To make a difference for HIM, with the life that I have been blest with.
All for HIS glory alone!
Letting go is hard, but the love will always last
You are the best.
We, Lynn, Sandy and I miss seeing you and your girlfriends at Sandy Cove.. You moved mountains in our lives over the years!
May our Lord bless you and keep you and yours.
Much Love in Christ,
I miss y’all too! Gwen and I are going to Sandy Cove next year. It’s not a girlfriends in God conference but just a womens conference. I can’t remember the date. Y’all come!
I Have Been Receiving Your Weekly Emails for Many Years!! I am a Huge Fan, and I Am Constantly ENCOURAGED by Them. I So Enjoy Sharing Them With Others!! I Would Love to Receive Your Free Download of “70 Common Lies We Tell Ourselves….Biblical Truths.” Thank You!! God Bless You & Your Ministry!!🥰Kathy
I Would Love to Receive Your “70 Lies We Tell Ourselves….And Biblical Truths!”
I Am a Huge Fan of Your Ministry, and Enjoy Sharing Your Weekly Emails with Family & Friends!! Thank You & God Bless!! Kathy
Go to the homepage at sharonjaynes.com and it tells you how to get it.
I truly enjoy this devotional each day! This one was especially precious, I recently cleaned out my husband’s closet and belongings. My husband passed last year this time so I thank God for my memories. Also my husband was a giver and musician so he would love the idea of sharing with others. Love you! Happy New Year…be blessed and prosperous. I praise the Lord for you and all you do for women like me. Thanks
Sharon, You are such a beautiful person inside & out! Thank you so much for todays devotion as it touched my heart deeply. I live it PA and would LOVE to see you all come up this way some time. You girls are amazing and have touched so many lives, especially mine!
May you have a New Year filled with so much love and peace from God! He is our healer, our confidant, our King!
Love you all!
We’d love to come. Gwen is from Pittsburgh.
Thank you Sharon, I needed this message today. Struggling with a gaming addicted daughter and I’m finding it hard to speak love sometimes. I will reread this passage before we have our next discussion.
Sharon, this struck home. It is so true.
My father was a church starter and started over 300 churches in the southwest. He started a Christin college in Arizona and the largest Christian camp/ conference center (still is, in Arizona). He trained and sent hundreds of missionaries all over the world. He and my mother were blessed to visit many of those mission fields. He spoke nation wide during his service to the Lord. He started a Christian retirement home for pastors and missionaries. He was a visionary and one of the finest walk the walk, talk the talk man, Pastor, Father, Husband, Author, friend that I will ever know. He was the president of the convention / churches for 27 years. When he retired the person that took over his position did all he could do to erase my fathers achievements. My fathers name was erased and deleted as much as this man could do. I was hurt and angry after my father passed at 92.
God spoke to me in his still small voice and reminded me that no human could ever delete what was accomplished in my fathers life. Thousands of lives that came to know Christ all around the world and better yet, more every day for each of those souls are continuing to reach others for Christ daily. I am blessed and thankful that God will not let man destroy what he has commissioned.
Oh my heart hurts reading that. It is hurtful to feel you’ve been erased. But no one can erase the changed lives.
WOWZA!!! Boy did this hit me hard in the heart today! I TRY not to compare my life to others and some days it’s pretty easy and other’s…not so much! BUT, this was such a great reminder that it’s not my worldly goods that matter (I mean, who doesn’t like a nice bag…but…) it’s the lives we touch and the love we give that absolutely matters MOST! Thank you as ALWAYS Sharon for such insightful readings! God really spoke to me as I read this today and I am SO grateful for all that I do have!