the button tin

Mar 3, 2022


In my childhood family move from Oamaru to Timaru a box of old bits and pieces surfaced from the home of my great-grandparents.

For a curious seven-year-old it was a fascinating collection of junk with value only because these curios belonged my ancestors.

In the box was a container full of old buttons. The buttons were interesting enough, but it was the roughly hand-painted verse around the outside of the tin that caught my attention:

What does it profit you to win the whole world, but lose your soul? Luke 9:25

For reasons I did not understand at the time these words really stuck with me. I suppose it was an early moment of awareness, a sense of the voice of God trying to speak directly to me giving me a life-question which over the decades since has been a mantra in many decisions I have made.

It was as if Jesus was speaking to me, asking me a life-shaping question:

John! What does it profit you to win the whole world, but lose your soul?

I remember imagining what might have led my ancestor to take the time to paint these words on the tin. Had s/he too been moved by the text and inspired to take these words from all the others in her Bible to mark that tin?

The question is clearly not rhetorical. It requires an answer; not just a once-in-a-lifetime response, but a daily, hourly choice, a decision, in fact the ultimate hourly decision, presented powerfully by Moses in today’s first reading:

“I set before you life or death, blessing or curse. Choose life, then, so that you and your descendants may live, in the love of the Lord your God, obeying his voice, clinging to him; for in this your life consists.”  Deut 30


Take a moment to share a prayer intention, or to let someone else know you are praying for them, or to initiate a cafe or bar gathering:

  • Prayer Requests – an opportunity to list your own requests for prayer and to let others know that you are praying for them and their intentions
  • Event Calendar – where you can suggest a time and place for a cafe or bar gathering inviting others to join you.



  1. welcome back to my emails Fr John. I really look forward tp your daily messages during Lent. LESS IS MORE appears to be your Lenten theme, the comments are brief but straight to the point.

  2. Beautiful ❣️


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