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In our house, it seems that most Bank Holidays involve a visit to the local tip with rubbish and unloved things that have been stored for years. My grandma has a saying that ‘if you haven’t used it in a year, then get rid of it.’ I don’t think she could have passed this pearl of wisdom onto her daughter because Mum loves to keep things ‘just in case’. Both Mum and my Grandad are teachers and they both love to keep things that they really won’t ever need. Mum, being a Primary school teacher, always finds use for odd things she has stored and repurposes many unloved and unwanted items.

Over the last few days have been spent clearing out the garage culminating with a trip to the tip. The dusty, cobwebbed and occasional mouse-nibbled items were cleared from the floor, cleaned and placed on newly built garage shelves. The floor appeared from years of dirt, dust and wood shavings (that part is my fault). One of the last items to be shelved was an old lantern that was left by the previous owners of the house 20 years ago. It appeared to be in good working order until I tried to light it. I soon discovered that the mantel had disintegrated over time and was no longer useable. I did a quick Google search and discovered that for £3 I could get a replacement mantle from Amazon. That wasn’t the only thing Google told me. You see, this wasn’t just any old lantern (said in an M&S advert voice), this was a Coleman North Star Fuel Lantern. Nope…meant nothing to me either. However, after looking on their website I discovered more, “you can rely on the NorthStar even when travelling in the most remote parts of the world.”

The North Star (Polaris), which can be seen in the night sky, is fixed in the Northern sky. Its position does not change. It is one of the brightest stars in the sky and is often the first to be seen. As slave lore tells it, the North Star played an important role in helping slaves find their way to freedom. The star became a beacon to true North. This old and dusty lantern, that has been stored in our garage ‘just in case’ we should ever need it, is actually an expensive lantern used by explorers and trekkers. Treasure, in the midst of rubbish and unloved items. An object that could have very well made it to the tip.

I could make reference to Jesus being our North Star. A fixed point that guides and leads us to freedom. I could also mention that the Coleman NorthStar lantern is reliable and illuminates pathways, just like Jesus does. However, what comes to mind as I sit writing this post is simply the fact that Jesus is the greatest treasure that you will ever find and that He views us as His treasure. Deuteronomy 26 v 18 says “today God has reaffirmed that you are His dearly held treasure” (Msg). If today, you aren’t feeling treasured, valued or worthy, I want you to read those words from Deuteronomy over several times to yourself. He loves you unconditionally.

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