Sometimes a very ordinary moment can turn into a revelation or even a life-changing experience.
One of these moments happened while I was in my fourth year of university. While waiting for a friend in one of the local malls, I was strolling around, doing some window shopping. I remember ending up in a furniture store in front of one of the most beautiful couches I had ever seen.
And a dialogue popped up in my head that went something like this:
A: “This is really a beautiful couch.”
B: “And quite expensive too, just look at the price tag: the whole set is more expensive than the second-hand car you’re sharing with your twin sister.”
A: “I wonder how long it would take to save up for a couch like this (after first paying off all of my student debt of course).”
B: “It is never only about the couch. How silly would this couch look in the small apartment you’re renting with all the odd pieces of furniture borrowed from family members?”
A: “Yes, I guess if you owned a couch like this you would need a nice house to go with it, not to mention a new car and at least one wide-screen TV.”
B: “It never ends with the couch. Seeing a beautiful couch only makes you dream of more: a nice house and everything that goes with it.”
A: (Sitting on the couch): “It’s really comfortable too.”
B: “What is the point of a couch?”
A: “To sit on, I guess.”
B: “What will be the point of having a beautiful, comfortable couch to sit on if you have no one to share it with?”
A: “I see where this is going. Of course, you’d want your friends to come over and sit on the couch with you.”
B: “Okay, so imagine you have the beautiful couch, the house, and the car, and everything that goes with it. Do you want your friends to come over to look at the furniture and watch TV or do you want them to come over because they actually want to see you?”
A: “To see me of course. To be honest, if I had a couch like this, I wouldn’t really want anyone to sit on it. What if they spilled their coffee on it or something? I’d probably have to put up a sign saying ‘No dogs or children allowed’. It is white, after all.”
B: “So, although it is nice to dream, do you really want riches and more stuff, a nice house and the kind of friends that will come over to look at your furniture and new car? Or, would you choose the life you already have with friends who do not even care that you’re flat broke, never even owned a TV, or that the couch they’re sitting on, sipping cheap coffee, is coming apart at the seams?”
Do you really want to build your life around the idea of a couch that reflects a life of comfort and style? And, if that dream becomes a reality, would you ever want to move?
In the words of Reinhard Bonnke: “JESUS WILL LIFT you out of the deepest pit, but He will not lift you out of your easy chair.”
Years later, I’m sitting here, typing this post on a Thai style “couch” (see picture above), an uncomfortable piece of wooden furniture without padding. And I’m thinking about the life I walked away from years ago when I walked out of that shop where I had that “encounter” with the comfortable couch.
The decision to walk away from the couch was also a decision to pursue a life filled with meaningful relationships, messy moments, and faith rather than a pursuit of a lifestyle of comfort and material possessions represented by the couch.
And I came to the conclusion that couches (along with all other material things) will always decrease in value, while true friendships – friendships with God at the center – will become exponentially more valuable over the years.
I know this because many of those friendships that were knit together on the very same couch that was coming apart have become the safe places where my soul can “sit down” and rest for a moment.
Over the years, I’ve had to discover new ways to keep on “sitting” with those “comfy friends”, while I’m living halfway across the world from them. Sometimes, it’s through an e-mail, voice-note, message, Skype, or a simple prayer.
However, regardless of where you end up physically sitting, the true comfort is more in the knowing that they are there, the “soul-couches” who make life more beautiful than any earthly treasure ever could.
When I count my blessings now, I tend to start with the names of people God has added to my life over the years, and I feel rich beyond measure.
I hope my friends know how much I treasure them and that there will always be a standing invitation to come and sit with me.. to share a cup of coffee or tea….and simply be together.
We all need a place where we can let go of all the aims for exterior perfection, where we can sit and be completely honest without feeling judged or scared to spill our coffee or our guts… and still walk away inspired to live fuller lives.
Dear friends, we need God and each other so much more than we need stuff. And if we ever want to be rich, we need to learn how to lay up treasures in heaven instead.
“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” – Matthew 6:19-21
Our treasures are not always what we have. A good indication of where we are headed is also what we dream of having…
Where are your dreams headed? Or do you realize what you really want in life is already right in front of you…