Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me”—Matthew 19:21 (ESV).
“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” Have you ever wondered where this idiom originated? According to the English Language and Usage website, the earliest example is found in Hector Urquhart’s introduction to 1860’s “Popular Tales of the West Highlands.”
The intro reads: “Practical men may despise the tales, earnest men condemn them as lies, some even consider them wicked; one refused to write any more for a whole estate; my best friend says they are all ‘blethers.’ But one man’s rubbish may be another’s treasure, and what is the standard of value in such a pursuit as this?”
Scriptures, more than 100, address the pursuit of worldly possessions. While God doesn’t disapprove of His children owning earthly goods, He doesn’t approve when earthly possessions have us. Heaven is our home. However, we’re often tempted, and forget to resist the temptation to hoard those things that will fade away. Colossians 3:22 reminds us to set our “minds on things above, not on earthly things.”
Resisting Buyer’s Remorse
Who doesn’t love a bargain? There’s nothing like saving money on a purchase, especially when it’s a good deal. But have you ever been tempted to buy something just because it’s a bargain? I have and it’s not because I really needed the item in question. Later, I’ve had buyer’s remorse.
What is buyer’s remorse? According to the dictionary, it’s “a feeling of regret experienced after making a purchase, typically one regarded as unnecessary or extravagant.”
Growing in my walk with the Lord has led me to question my purchases when I’m tempted. Am I always able to resist? No. However, I’ve learned that impulse buying based on saving money isn’t a bargain if the item is unnecessary. It’s why my closet has, at times, overflowed with clothing. When that happens, it’s difficult to decide about what to wear. Ever had that problem? When you have too many choices, it can lead to stress when it comes to making a choice.
Ridding Ourselves of the Unnecessary
Going through my closet and changing out clothing for a new season prompts me to consider what I need to donate. Our church has two garage sales a year to raise money for missions. Since I’m moving to a new community soon, I’m also purging closets and drawers.
Recently, I was discussing the overwhelming amount of donations for our fall sale with another church member. She said, “I think everyone is either a hoarder or got bored while in quarantine and decided to get rid of stuff.”
Most of us have too much stuff. I know I do. Even if I donate items throughout the year to other charities, I still have more than enough. But I still love shopping at yard sales. I donate. Then, I buy and bring someone else’s stuff home. For as the saying goes, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”
More Memories, Less Stuff
Can you remember any of the Christmas or birthday gifts you received as a child? I can only recall one. It was an expensive—at that time—art kit. It contained oil and watercolor paints, charcoal and pastel sticks and colored pencils. In addition, there was a variety of art papers and canvas sizes. Why do I remember that one gift? Because my mother knew I loved to draw. She recognized and wanted to encourage my artistic talent.
When we recognize what really matters in life, everything else pales in comparison. It’s the memories we’ve made. That’s why I still have a few of the charcoal drawings from my youth. They’re a reminder, not of the gift, but of the giver.
James 1:17 reminds us of the best gift giver of all. “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” His most perfect gift was that of His Son, Jesus Christ, who gave His life so we might have everlasting life. There is no greater blessing than eternal life. Luke 12:34 says it best: “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”