Chinese Lunar New Year fell on February 12th this year. I went back to my hometown to spend this traditional festival with my family as usual. What’s distinctive this year was that we had arranged a gathering of old friends during this time, which raised my expectation and excitement of this holiday.
Old friends with new changes
Ting, Jia and Dan are three close friends I had in middle school. We often hung out and spent our leisure time together. We shared snacks and helped each other with homework after class, we visited each other or went cycling on weekends, and we knew each person’s favorite pop singers and exchanged their posters for fun. How simple and sweet was the old time! Given that we work in different cities, we hadn’t met each other for many years. Thankfully that spring festival enabled an opportune time for us to meet again. I couldn’t help recollecting those unforgettable memories when we eventually settled on a date to meet!
We met last Sunday at noon and had lunch together. I noticed some changes at first glance. Ting has been married and is a mother of four now, Jia has lost quite a lot of weight and she overflowed with confidence, and Dan has her natural curls straightened and looked fashionable. To my surprise, they all commented that I haven’t changed that much. There was no more need of any polite greetings, we chatted like old friends straight away.
Wealth on earth
Instead of being retrospective about the past too much, my friends were more focused on the present and the future. Someone initiated a conversation about her job, and then switched to the price of property and later to marriage. I sat quietly through their discussion as those topics seemed alien to me, a single person with a regular job and zero insight of housing market. It’s not until I said grace before the meal that I got the chance to tell them about my Christian conversion. They didn’t seem to be interested about it and the conversation was quickly changed back to above topics. Gradually, I detected a sense of superiority as they started to compare their possessions, which was the least thing I would expect among old friends. Before this meeting, I hardly thought that our friendship and conversation would turn material. I anticipated more than that from my old friends. To my disappointment, topics covered in the talk made them strange to me. They are the people I know from a long time ago. I thought I knew them well, but not anymore. Likewise, they didn’t know who I am now. We couldn’t reach an agreement on what we hold dear in our lives now.
Wealth in heaven
I thanked them for their time for dinning together, although the conversation was not as pleasant as I expected. Sincerity and simplicity were absent there. The core was all about what better assets to grab in this life.
I can’t blame them in grasping at those things. I was one of them when I didn’t know God. When I was not aware of the true valuable inheritance, I was blinded with what I see by sight, and was limited to what I could grip in a short term.
Like the rich man who is busy in accumulating wealth on earth, he didn’t even know if his soul could survive tomorrow to enjoy those treasures. On the contrary, it’s only wise to store wealth in heaven which lasts eternally, since the treasure on earth won’t do any good to our eternal wellbeing, as he came from his mother's womb he shall go again, naked as he came, and shall take nothing for his toil that he may carry away in his hand. (Ecclesiastes chapter 5, verse 15)
I pray that the Lord opens the eyes of my friends, as well as those who have the similar perspective as theirs, to see the wealth and beauty about His kingdom. May we all be like the man who found the hidden treasure (the kingdom of heaven) in the field, and joyfully sell all he has to buy that field.
Cindy Cheng was born and brought up in central China. Cindy enjoys travelling and reading history books. Cindy is inspired by talking with local people when travelling abroad experiencing different parts of the world, as well as herself.
Cindy’s previous articles may be found at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/cindy-cheng.html