Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Collections can be fun. As a child, I enjoyed collecting postage stamps, rocks, fabric scraps, etc... As an adult, I tend to collect more useful items, though I still have quite the collection of fabric scraps. :) Personally, I'm not a collector of knick-knacks, but I know some people enjoy that. Adding to a person's collection can be a wonderful gift, especially when you know it is just the thing that will make them happy.

When it comes to our personal collections though, I recently had a breakthrough in my own mind. A couple of years ago, I happened upon the entire collection of hardcover Beatrix Potter books (20+ little volumes) in perfect condition for $5 at a garage sale. I knew this set was worth about $100, so I was very happy to snatch it up. The Littles and I have been enjoying reading the charming stories. Still, that one missing book kind of gnawed away at me for a while. I thought perhaps I should look into buying the missing volume so we could have a complete set. I looked online and priced the book. It would cost about as much for the one book as I paid for the whole set. Now, $5 is really not too bad of a price, and $10 for over 20 books is still a wonderful deal. But I hesitated.

And I'm glad I hesitated because it became a good learning opportunity for me. Why did I really need that last book? If I were honest with myself, it wasn't because of the merits of that particular volume. The reason I wanted it was so I could have the complete set, and that is a rather vain reason. I did NOT need that last book. We did not enjoy the Beatrix Potter books any less just because one book was lacking. The one book meant very little in the grand scheme of things, and my mind was finally perfectly satisfied not to have it.

Do you have any collections? Can you be happy and content with an incomplete collection of something? If not, perhaps it is time to take a good look at your heart. Letting a collection stay incomplete is a way to save money, but more importantly, it disentangles you from becoming too deeply attached to the things in this world. Things are things. I can understand feeling some sentimental ties to a family heirloom or photographs because those things remind us of people whom we love dearly. But if you are so deeply tied down to you stuff that you couldn't just leave it all tomorrow if you really had to, maybe you need to re-evaluate your relationship with your stuff.

People are more important than things.

God is more important than things.
Matthew 6: 19-20 - Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (ESV)

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