Things that Matter and Things that Don’t

Allyson Joy

My favorite television series of all time is Downton Abbey. Set in the early 20th century, Downton Abbey chronicles the lives and events connected to a great English estate and a slowly changing way of life. Everyone from the earl to the housemaid is impacted by this change, war, death, heartbreak and hope. The lifestyle of and distinction between the various classes is fascinating. The writers stayed true (mostly) to much of the history, giving us a glimpse of what life must have been like during those years. And while Downton Abbey is obviously a television drama, it makes me appreciate the growing pains that so many experienced to give us the freedom and equality we enjoy today.

World War 1 opens the beginning of season 2. Everyone from the elite to the ordinary were called to serve in one way or another. In one scene, while in the trenches of the battlefield, the heir to the Grantham estate (Matthew Crawley) is having tea with one the footman (Thomas Barrow). In the setting of war, there was no longer a chasm between the upper and lower classes. All were working. All were fighting. Matthew ends the scene by saying this, “War has a way of distinguishing between the things that matter and the things that don’t.”

Yep, I’m about to pull a spiritual application from Downton Abbey.

Most of us will never experience physical war. But as Christians, we ARE in a spiritual battle every day. We are constantly pulled towards this world, enticed to invest in things that are passing away. I am the first to admit a tendency towards losing patience about inconsequential matters, my focus distorted by distractions. But when we challenge ourselves to see everything in light of a spiritual war, then we begin to easily distinguish between the things that matter and the things that don’t.

A couple weeks ago we discussed this very topic so I won’t dive into it much more. For today, I simply want to remind us that we are in a spiritual battle. When you feel the pull of this world, weighed down by trials and temptations, remember that we are, in fact, waring for our souls and the souls of those we encounter. With this in mind, distinguishing between the things that matter and the things that don’t just got a little bit easier.

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