Can't take it with you


"You can't take it with you when you go." Obviously, the best bet is to spend it while we still have breath. Maybe we should save it and let someone else spend it - at a fee of course, but then we have to pay tax on the interest. At least we can still leave it to our family without paying tax, although I am sure there will soon be a death tax before our relatives get to spend it and pay tax again.

So what do we take with us when we go, when we leave this "vale of tears"? A funny term, "vale of tears", I think life has more going for it than that. Anyway, what can we take with us? We usually talk of the spirit of a person leaving the body after death and moving into union with the Divine. So, if that's the case, then all we take with us after death is the spiritual self. Now that's a reasonable point of view. It's held by many religions, especially those that are Platonic philosophy, for example, most Eastern Religions. Yet it's not the view of the Christianity. I know we all tend to talk in those terms, but that's because Platonic thought has greatly influenced Western development. The Bible teaches that when we break the bonds of death, it is the whole body that rises, not just some spiritual ghostly shadow. The whole self rises from the dead. The dust that once constituted our being is recreated and transformed into a new creation - of the old, but new. We become like a sheaf of wheat from a single grain sown in the soil - a butterfly bursting from its cocoon.

So what do we take with us? Obviously not our possessions, but certainly everything that makes up the true self. We take our memories, our knowledge and our natures. We don't take our mortal self, our corruptible self. We don't take our infested self, our nature of selfishness. We don't take our powerless self, our limited self. Do we take our desires - our yearnings for life, place, meaning and love? Many would say no, but I think yes. What we are mirrors what we shall be. Our desire for place, home and property is transformed into an eternal desire for a heavenly mansion. Our desire for meaning, displayed so often in creative work, is transformed into the task of "bringing all things under one head, even Christ." Our desire for love, for marriage, is transformed into the desire to be one with God and his new creation.

You can't take it with you? Most of what we are is eternal and goes with us beyond the grave.