One of the worst forest fires in US history took place on September 1, 1894 in the town of Hinckley, Minnesota. To put in perspective how big it was, let me give you a comparison. In 2002 in the state of Oregon they had a huge forest fire called the “Biscuit” fire. It burned a total of 350,000 acres in one week. The great 1894 Hinckley fire did the same damage in five hours. When it was all said and done over 400 people would lose their lives. Sadly many of the lives could have possibly been saved if people would have just not tried to carry their belongings away from the fire.
Most of the people in and around Hinckley were just modest wood mill workers and farmers. They did not have much, but what they had was valuable to them. When they saw the fire coming, many of them packed bags and wagons and tried to get their possessions out of the fire. One woman even tried to drag her singer sewing machine with her. Ultimately most of these people realized too late that carrying all this baggage was hindering their escape. After the fire, some victims were found still grasping their belongings. One woman was found with three of her children dead next to her laying on top of a purse with $3500 in cash in it.
We as believers are sometimes like these people. We are not taking anything with us when we leave this world, but we live our daily lives as if it is all going with us on a luggage wrack. There is nothing wrong with possessions but some of the things we grasp tightly to can be a detriment to eternity. Are our hobbies really more important than the souls of our children? Should our careers really trump our marriage? The Bible says “It is appointed unto man once to die then after this the judgment.” Hebrews 9:27 Let us all strive to use what God has given us for His honor and glory in light of eternity. There is nothing wrong with owning nice things, but are they really worth our lives and eternity?