(This week I’ve included the original song “The Nature of You” with this blog. Enjoy!)

After a busy Easter week of ministry at our home church, Terese and I decided to take a day trip to Venice, Florida to relax and do some of our favorite things there (my apologies to my friends in snowy climates). This area has been our “go to” retreat area for many years, so we welcomed the 2-hour drive to spend time in the sunshine near the turquoise blue Gulf coast and nearby bird sanctuary that we have enjoyed over the years. After a nice lunch at our favorite seafood restaurant, we headed to Caspersen Beach, a place known for unique fossilized sharks’ teeth. For an hour or so we joined the throngs of people who walked the beach and waded in the Gulf waters looking for the sought-after trinkets. Wave after wave revealed new finds that we tried to quickly grab before the water churned and hid them from our sight. We found a few shells and one small sharks’ tooth that we stored in a plastic zip-lock bag.

After a while, we stopped to sit on the warm sandy beach. Soon I noticed a dad with his two kids out in the water, working together to sift through sand to find shells and sharks teeth. The youngest boy celebrated when they found something, and jubilantly splashed to shore to give the item to his mother who was waiting on the shoreline. I paused and remembered the times I spent with my children when they were young and smiled at the thought of those memories. Next, I saw an older couple holding hands as they sauntered down the shoreline. Then I saw my wife sitting a foot away from me looking up at two passing pelicans. I then had an “ah-hah!” moment and realized the real treasures of life aren’t the trinkets we pick up along the way, but the love God has poured into our lives. It is a love that is revealed in time spent with Him and the people He has placed in our life. I thanked God for bringing Terese into my life and for moments like these where we can simply enjoy the beauty of God’s creation—together. I reflected on all the precious times God has given to me with family and friends, times that point to His faithful love and grace that has been richly poured into my life. As David once wrote “my cup overflows” (see Psalm 23)

We live in a world that points us to many trinkets—things that have been assigned value by other human beings but ultimately bring no lasting satisfaction to our existence. It’s easy to get sucked into the vortex of things, but it’s wise to remember and always return to the real treasure of our Lives: Jesus Christ, who once said

“…Where your treasure is, there your heart will also be.” Matthew 6:21

I am thankful for the many blessings God has placed in my life. But I cling to the only real treasure of life—God’s presence, love, and grace that has been lavished on me and poured out to overflowing in my life. God’s love spills out into the precious people and magnificent creation He has put in my life and now leads me to joyfully say:

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.”
1 Chronicles 16:34

God bless you.

Chris Atkins