You Can’t Take It With You

“Can we take these home?” our three-year old daughter Hannah asks me.

“Sure bubs. We are home.”

“No. Home to Keennnnnnnya!”

Hannah’s Kenyan home

It both warms and crushes my heart to hear Hannah ask this. She has asked us this about various objects almost every day since we arrived in Kentucky the end of January.


This time her query was in relation to a pile of stickers she had peeled off our recently purchased apples. I’m pretty sure she thinks these stickers are free promotional gifts to get us to buy the produce in America.

“Um, I think we’ll probably leave these in Kentucky.”

“Why?” [Oh, how many times a day this word issues forth from our toddler!]

“You can’t take it with you.”

Hannah nods and moves on to the next thing–watching the “rats” run along our back-yard branches (Hannah: “The rats in Kentucky have really bushy tails!”).

But I’m still back with the produce stickers.

In the last month, as we’ve packed up our household in Kenya and unpacked our household in Kentucky, Clark and I have had this thought many times: “You can’t take it with you.”


Our Kenyan household all packed up

The extra-large bag of peanut butter M&Ms (worth their weight in gold among our missionary community at Tenwek) and the hundreds of books (representing countless hours spent pouring over the shelves of library and used-book sales) are suddenly worthless when you’re boarding a plane to the land-of-many-Krogers. Or when you realize that each book you don’t get rid of is 15 oz you will have to move in and out of someone’s basement and that will never be unpacked long enough to be read.


I’m not ashamed to admit it. My first stop at Kroger was the ice cream aisle.

This transition has forced us to value many of our material belongings the way, I think, God values them.


Either because they are not usable even now.

Or because we’re headed somewhere flourishing with such quality and abundance that it would be silly to lug along our old, beat-up whatever-it-may-be.

As we settle into our home-for-now here in Kentucky and anticipate our return to Kenya in August; as Hannah’s produce stickers get thrown out; as the Lexington Public Library’s collection grows substantially thanks to our contributions…

We are grateful for this assurance: we are headed to that “somewhere.”

“For we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world.”

1 Tim 6:7



*written by Val Sleeth




2 thoughts on “You Can’t Take It With You

  1. I always enjoy hearing from you and seeing the wonderful pictures. I so wished we lived closer to Kentucky and could spend time with you and your growing family as well as your sisters and their families. Know that you are in our prayers and I love you all very much.

    Kirsten is expecting twins in July/August. She has had terrific “morning” sickness and extreme headaches. She called me at work a while ago and said “Mom, why do they call this “morning sickness”? I’m sick all day long.” These have been extreme and is causing her to cut back on work hours and even then, still missing quite a bit of work.

    Jodie got married last month to a wonderful Italian guy named Beppe (nick name). We love both of them very much. They presently live in Mill Creek, WA (not far from Everett) but Beppe’s company is moving them to Jacksonville, Florida sometime in October/September. We will miss them soooooooooo much.

    Irv and I are still working full time and seem to keep busy outside of work.

    Keep in touch. Love you all.

    Sent from Mail for Windows 10

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This reminds me of a talk I heard once called “Shrouds Don’t Have Pockets”. The material things of this world really have no value, but it’s such a hard lesson to remember in our society.
    My prayers are with you and your family Val.
    p.s. – I love seeing you on the ice cream aisle! When I spent 2 months in Mexico last Spring, the first thing I ate when I got home was ice cream – lots of ice cream.

    Liked by 1 person

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