The Shredder and C. T. Studd

by DanWolgemuth on January 21, 2022

Sitting on the top shelf of a storage area in our basement was a banker’s box. The box has been the final resting place for financial information for Mary and me. Everything from mortgage papers to tax returns.

On nearly every visit into this area I catch a glimpse of this box. Over time, the contents have been chronologically and thematically arranged. In addition, the continual addition of key financial material has meant that a few layers of file folders were stacked on top of the nifty box lid. Until two Saturdays ago.

For the past few years it has felt as though every glance at the box invited a dare, a taunt… Like the box thumbed its corrugated nose at me. And with good reason.

Nestled inside the box were tax returns that dated back to the year I graduated from college. My first year in full time employment. My last year as a single man. 1977 to be exact. I even had the W2 form from Mutual Security Life, along with an adjusted gross income of just over $6,000.

Two Saturdays ago I slid my hands in the openings at each end of the box and tugged it from the top shelf. I had done this before… to relocate the box, or to organize the box, or to add to the contents of the box. But frankly, never to utilize the contents for some regulatory purpose. Never.

In some odd way, the contents of this box provided comfort or confidence. Untested, indeed. But strangely significant. Until January 2022.

I had repositioned a paper shredder in front of a couch in our basement, with an unobstructed view of a television that displayed NFL football.

And shred I did. At moments when nostalgia or misplaced importance pressed against my resolve, I pushed five more pages into the whining motor. Handwritten Form 1040s. Notarized mortgage documents. Shredded. Trashed. Obliterated. Indistinguishable.

My entire working career (with the exception of the last few years based on IRS requirements!) gone. Destroyed.

Positions, bosses, promotions, and callings flashed in front of my mind’s eye. Fort Wayne. Franklin. Elkhart. Kansas City. Denver. Eight employers.

In a two-hour period of time, before the conclusion of one NFL football game… gone. Irrecoverably so.

I emptied the shredded collection over and over. Not disrespectfully, or void of gratitude… but with a proper amplification of the words of famous missionary, C.T. Studd…

“Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.”

One life.

Anything. Everything that doesn’t lift the name and cause and character of Christ… shredded. Gone.

A banker’s box dared me. And for years I folded. Until Saturday.

Twice the shredder overheated. But ultimately. And finally… gone.

Only one life… soon past.

Shred more.

Value rightly.

Lift higher.

Only what Jesus values escapes the shredder. Only…

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Bill Cummins January 21, 2022 at 9:52 AM

Great illustration of life!!! We’re on our ‘gun lap.’


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