The Two Treasures

The Two Treasures


My mother-in-law lived with our family for twenty years. For six of those years, my mother also lived with us. Corlette and I called them “the Two Treasures.”

Lois (my mother) and Thelma

In all the years they lived in our home, I never heard one word of criticism, grumbling, or complaining from either of them. Really. They were that gracious.

Even when the pain of Parkinson’s, broken hips, and other troubles became a daily challenge, they were both amazingly cheerful and positive. They didn’t talk of their pains unless we pressed them. They rarely sighed, moaned, or looked downcast, even when we knew they were suffering.

Two-Way Blessings

Yes, as they grew older they did take more of our time and attention. When they gave up their cars, Corlette became their driver. Whenever they needed to see the doctor, she, my sister, or my brother sat through every appointment. When they needed financial, tax, or other legal assistance, I was their in-house attorney.

But when we needed baby-sitters, someone to chat with, funny stories from the past, wisdom and encouragement , or lively companions for a visit to Disney World, the Treasures were there, blessing us with so much more than we could possibly give to them.

Starting Early

They didn’t wait until their twilight years to develop these pleasant qualities. Each of them had cultivated a cheerful attitude from their earliest days. They made it a habit to be grateful for what they had instead of grumbling about what they lacked.

These winsome qualities continued to serve them well when failing health finally forced each of them into a nursing home. They were still so considerate that whenever they rang their buzzers, aides scurried to win the privilege of caring for them.

We and many others were the daily beneficiaries of their pleasant ways. Now that they are gone, we miss them intensely. Our home seems so empty without them.

How About You?

What kind of relational habits are you cultivating today? Will your core attitudes serve you and your family well when your body and mind begin to fail and you become increasingly dependent on others? Will you be viewed as a treasure or as a trial in the last season of your life?

Today is the day to begin building gracious attitudes and behaviors into your life so that when the veneer of “company manners” is worn away, what shines through is pure gold. Here are a few simple habits taught in Scripture that will make you easier to live with … both today and down the road.

  • Eliminate grumbling, whining, and complaining from your life, as well as the sighing and moaning that seems to say, “Feel sorry for me” (Phil. 2:14). If you’re hurting and need help, prayer, or encouragement, say so directly and graciously. But don’t unload your problems aimlessly and hopelessly on those around you (2 Cor. 1:3-7).
  • See and celebrate God’s many goodnesses to you. Develop a keen eye for all the mercies and kindnesses God pours into your life, and never miss an opportunity to say “thank you” to him and to the people through whom he blesses you (Ps. 16:5-11; 1 Thess. 5:16-18).
  • Look for the best in every person and situation. If you look for the good in others, you will usually find it. If you are watching for the bad, you’ll usually experience that instead (Prov. 11:27). Be so affirming of others that they simply love being around you; they will if you always make them feel good about what God is doing through them (Phil. 4:8-9; 1 Corinthians 1:4-9).
  • Smile. Don’t waste the only face you’ve got on blank or somber expressions. Develop the habit of smiling as you walk into the kitchen in the morning, as you greet co-workers throughout the day, as you walk past others in the grocery store in the afternoon. A simple smile and friendly greeting from you can dramatically change another person’s day (Prov. 12:25; Prov. 15:13).

The Fruit of the Gospel

These attitudes and habits are the fruit of our salvation in Christ. Whenever people are deeply and constantly aware of God’s saving grace, their lives can be marked with joy, thanksgiving, gladness, and overflowing acts of love and kindness (Phil. 4:4-7; Col. 3:12-17).

So dwell much on all that God has done for you in Christ. Let the joy of your salvation inspire and embed habits that will make you pleasant to live with today and tomorrow.

And someday when your kids are fighting about you, it won’t be over who has to care for you, but who gets to care for you.

Ken Sande

Reflection Questions (Most effective when shared with a friend; James 1:22-25)

  • When you experience stress or disappointment, are you inclined to maintain a cheerful attitude or to grumble, whine or complain? For a more accurate answer to that question, ask those closest to you how they would honestly describe your response to difficulty.
  • If God was to remove from your life everything you’ve not thanked him for in the past month, what would you lose?
  • What are some things you failed to thank others for in the past week? Go and thank them today!
  • What characteristic will you ask God to help you change in order to make you a person others enjoy being around … both today and toward the end of your life?

Permission to distribute: Please feel free to download, print, or electronically share this message in its entirety for non-commercial purposes with as many people as you like.

© 2013 Ken Sande

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34 Responses to "The Two Treasures"
    • It is my home and prayer that I can emulate the beautiful characters that these lovely ladies portrayed in their lives and never dissappoint.

  1. As I have arrived at middle age, I’ve found myself praying, “Lord, make me one of those sweet, funny little old ladies in the years to come.” Your post has given me tools to use in co-operation with my prayers.

  2. It is great to see this practical personality checklist to encourage winsome habits. If someone is naturally gifted to be that kind of wonderful treasure, what a blessing! If not, thankfully the Lord is faithful to reveal blind spots, areas of needed change, and enough conflict to remind us that relationships can be like mirror giving us a reflection of how others really see us. It is a gift to know that the plan is for us to grow and change.
    I’ve been thinking more about a zone of grace. In the middle of those tense conversations that turn into a heated debate, and everyone has forgotten all about humor and mild mannered conversation, I want to backstep into the calm that only Jesus can give. In grace, I want to be able to thank Him for the opportunity to learn, choose conciliatory and kind words, find pieces of the story that I can use to reconnect and rebuild bridges. I have to figure out a way for me—- not to do life as usual.
    When Martha and Mary had dinners with Jesus, Martha couldn’t shift gears. Her perspective stayed on task, but small and bound up with worldly issues. Yet Mary didn’t lose her perspective. She was fully in position to bend low and anoint Jesus with the expensive perfume. Whatever the daily stress, her eyes were still on Jesus. That made her truly winsome. That kept her in perfect Grace.

    • “Zone of grace.” I like that. May God grant us all such a place as he dwells in our hearts and fills us with a peace that overflows to others.

    • I don’t know. I’ve never heard their names, but it’s possible we’re related. Please send any information you have on them. Thank you.

  3. When under stress, I don’t often grumble, but I do turn inward, becoming somber and quiet. The best way to deal with these times is to be around and in communication with others

  4. Wow!! I’m going to write some of these key points that struck me in my journal and maybe even post them on my mirror in the bathroom so that I am reminded daily!!

  5. What comes out under the pressure of aging, pain, and limited mobility is the result of a lifetime of developed character. We can’t wait until we are old to become self-less. It is too late then. Selflessness begins now or it won’t happen.

  6. I really got a lot out of reflecting on “the two Treasures”. It made me think of my folks especially my dad whose hospice worker would always comment on how gracious he was. I personally have a lot a growth to do in the four areas above, but God has blessed me with his word and good role models. I am optimistic that with the help of His Spirit that dwells in me, I can grow into being a treasure instead of a trail.

  7. What great things to think and remember daily. If I lost things I never took the time to say thank you to God for.Wow. Especially the little things I take for granted.
    Also I need to work lately on when things aren’t going to well. My actions are not becoming sometimes. I want to grow old and be pleasant to be around. Only God can help me if I am willing to work on it.

  8. Recognizing my level of “Thankfulness” towards others has helped me see my lack of appreciation for people’s kindness and words of encouragement. My desire is to develop a keen eye for all the mercies and kindnesses God pours into my life, and never miss an opportunity to say Thank you to him and especially to the people through whom He blesses me.

  9. I live by the Philippians 4 scripture! When I find myself feeling sorry for myself, I start my gratitude journal up again and it always turns me around. So powerful! My mom lives with us and my Dad did before he passed away. We decided to do that before they needed care so that it would be a smooth transition. Funny thing is my Dad, never got old . . . My mom still cooks dinner at 80 years old for the whole family. Yes there are trade-offs but I think I am the one most blessed by this experience! When I am missing my kids, it makes me think about my mom. She probably would like to spend time with me. Many years ago, I remember that my kids were older and we didn’t hug as much. I missed those hugs! Then I realized that my parents probably missed my hugs. So, one Christmas, I made a New Year’s resolution to give my parents a hug every night over the next year. I never stopped. I even hug them by phone when I am on vacation!

  10. I feel the Holy Spirit warns me and urges me to daily put Christ first by spending time in His word and writing what I am learning from the passage. Several verses guide me. Matt6:33 “But seek first His Kingdom and His Righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.” Also Romans 12:1,2 ” I appeal to you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” As i daily choose to spend time with Jesus in His word and offer my body as a daily sacrifice, i trust that He is renewing my mind, and thus my actions daily. I choose to take this time, so that when the unexpected relationships and circumstances come, I trust His Spirit, and His Grace to give me the wisdom, and power to walk in Christ. Ultimately, I trust His redemption in me as I daily, moment by moment abide in Him. It has been a great blessing throughout my life in Christ. And I trust as I apply His word He will redeem me and use me in others lives as the Two Treasures.

  11. What a wonderful testimony! I would like to cultivate these qualities of grace. One area of adjustment that I need to make is to work on not being so intense. I was told I am a person of conviction. When I know I am backed in my convictions by God’s word, I seem to forget that I must also communicate this with love. Having convictions are good, but I need to communicate these more tenderly and use softer words. I need to be a lot more gracious and loving and truly take into consideration where the other person is and what they are feeling. I need to listen more and more carefully.

  12. Recently we’ve been spending some time with my 91 year old mother who at times in our growing up was more fearful or worried than prayerful and trusting. However, if I have one image of my mother, she is and was a praying woman. In her old age, she has increasingly learned and practiced her trust in Jesus and is a joy to be around. I echo the sentiments expressed in this post and strive to also grow and learn and practice what I learn (even if I’m not good at it now) so that I can increasingly grow in grace and wisdom.

  13. This gives me food for thought on my own behavior and how that needs improvement in areas. It also provides a source for witnessing to others that are in a similar situation as relying on others for periodic help.

  14. In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, I can readily see how much I have lacked in gratitude to our Lord and others. This has been a huge wake up call to repent of my selfish thoughts and to be attentive to Him, His Truth, His kindness and mercy. It is also a means of focusing on what really is important in life…busy is not important, being is…being in His Presence and being present in each moment as it is offered.

  15. I was convicted about responding to disappointments with grumbling and complaining and have asked those in my life to hold me accountable to reducing those responses.

    • Catherine that is a humble and bold move to make! Grumbling and complaining are so easy for us to fall into. Having trusted brothers and sisters who can help support us is critical.

  16. I will never stop needing to be reminded of the simplicity of gratitude and I am so thankful for God’s faithfulness to remind me of all I have to be thankful for! He is so good and so faithful. Scripture is chalked full of reminder to be thankful. May we practice it always.

  17. This is a reminder to me of all the “treasures” in my life. I am blessed by wise, encouraging, positive people including my sweet 86 year old mentor. After reading this I want to call her and thank her again for being such a treasure to me.

  18. I worked in a nursing home for several years after getting my nursing license and I always appricated the ones that were patient and kind to us even when it seemed like it took forever for us to get to them for one reason or the other. Where I am working now you see this once in awhile. I have always hoped that someday I would be like this when I could not do things for myself. I really needed to be reminded of this here lately especially dealing with the things life throws at me. So thank you!

  19. As a woman who is 82 years old, caring for a daughter who is 61 and a husband who is also 82 we have tried to build these characteristics into our home so that Christ will be honored and we can experience peace and joy. I have had to learn and I am still learning that I must let each person be who they are in Christ and not what I might want them to be. Total acceptance is essential. Not trying to fix things is essential. Prayer is essential. Abiding in Christ is essential. Seeing people as Christ sees them and loves them helps me to love them that way too. Always a daily learning process.

  20. This is a hope in my heart that I would be like that if I should come to the place in living in one of my children’s homes. At this point in my life (I am 82 and so is my husband) God has given us health and energy to provide a home for our 61 year old daughter who lives with us and had a major brain hemorrhage at the age of 39. Her right side was paralyzed and her speech was affected. She is pretty much independent at this point but steadily losing ground. I cared for my own parents when they were in their 90’s in their home. I count it a great privilege to have had that special time with them. I heard my Father say that I was God’s gift to them. That was a gift to me from God. I never knew if my Father was saved or not but he had a lot of opportunity to hear and see the gospel lived out before him. All by God’s grace.

  21. I am hoping to refine those “treasured” characteristics as I teach middle school. I have seen the fruits of the Spirit grow as I interact with students, parents, and co-workers. I desire to be a blessing through all stages of my life!

  22. Until I was confronted by the Relational Wisdom study I didn’t realize that I need to work on eliminating grumbling, whining, and complaining from my life. This study has been like putting my spiritual life under a magnifying glass.

    The other area this study magnified is a huge need for me to look for the best in every person and situation, especially in my children. Too often I am looking for what they missed or did not do instead of complimenting them on what they did and what they achieved.

  23. I love the point about smiling! It is so true that having a smile on my face affects my whole being. And remembering to be thankful for all that God as done for me. He is faithful. I love the verses in Col. 3:12-17…we are God’s chosen ones who need to demonstrate compassion, kindness, patience…only by giving God control can we fully achieve these qualities. I am so thankful that God gives us a new day every day.

  24. Two things that have come to mind recently and were reinforced in this lesson are smiling and taking the initiative to see how others are doing and what they might be in need of. I don’t always remember to smile while I am conversing with others which I think would help them enjoy conversations and activities more if I remembered to smile. Most people have family that takes up the bulk of their time so for that reason I keep more to myself. Plus, being a senior changes things as well. As a few have said in their comments here, I want to age with grace and love like I did when I was younger.

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