It’s all on loan

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Viewpoint with Rev. Don Miller

I love antiques. There’s just something special about having a piece of furniture that has seen so much history. I remember when I first started collecting, I would go to an auction and something would catch my eye. I began starting collections: crocks, rolling pins, washboards. Items that started out very utilitarian were hung on my walls, never to be used again. I decorated my home with stories. I just couldn’t get enough. 

One day I went to visit a collector in the valley who showed me around his home. Room after room was stuffed full of amazing antiques.  Wall to wall treasures. I was in awe. Then the dealer started opening cupboards and hutches. There were literally piles and piles of extraordinary china, each piece beautiful on it own, but seeing it all hoarded together somehow it just became overwhelming. As the tour continued I found more and more.  And suddenly the lustre was gone. It went from being a fantastic collection to being an obsession, a sinful addiction, a problem. 

That visit changed the way I thought about things. I stopped collecting things just for the sake of collecting, and now have a rule that nothing comes into my house without something leaving first. I came to realize that I never really own anything. The things that surround us are simply on loan. They are here to bring us comfort, but if acquiring things becomes our sole purpose, then we really need to head to the eye doctor and get our focus checked. 

Matthew 6:19-21 puts it this way.

“Do not store up riches for yourselves here on earth, where moths and rust destroy, and robbers break in and steal.  Instead, store up riches for yourselves in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and robbers cannot break in and steal. For your heart will always be where your riches are.

Don’t get me wrong, I still love my antiques, but I cannot depend on them to bring me joy. Family, friendship, love: these are the things that matter. 

The rest is all just stuff.

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