At the end of the day…

August 04, 2015 | President's Slice
By Joe Hale

At the end of the day…

 I don’t usually stop at yard sales, garage sales, etc., nor had I ever before gone to an estate sale.  But the other day, I got an email about an estate sale, and took my lunch hour to spin into Memphis to see what the hoopla was all about.
Here was a medium-sized house where an elderly widow had lived alone until she finally had to be moved to an assisted-living facility.  It was like every drawer, cabinet, storage space, etc., in the house had been opened and all contents pulled out and displayed right there, with a small, red label with $2 tagged on the sleeve or handle.  Every dish… every spoon… every blouse… every bowling trophy (really?)… every piece of jewelry… and every pot and pan was on display.  As I looked it over, my thoughts were:
“I have a version of everything here in my own house.”
“When I die, they better not sell my watch for $3!”
“That quilt looks a lot like mine, but mine is worth waaaaaay more than $10; after all, it was hand-quilted by my grandmother.”
“Hmmm…we have the same outdoor lawn set or I’d buy this whole thing for the $15 tag price.”  (I wonder if that’s all someone would get for ours… I paid $200 for that thing!)
“Obviously this lady liked to bake…she had at least five muffin pans (all priced for $2).”  But no one bought them…they looked too used and imperfect.
“Who would actually buy someone else’s trophies….even for 50 cents?”

I spoke briefly to the person in charge of the estate sale.  He told me the lady’s children didn’t want any of her “stuff,” not even the 6 boxes of incredible scrapbooking work she had obviously spent hundreds of hours putting together.  They told him “she gave us plenty of photos, and we just don’t have room for all that stuff.”  Not even close family wanted her scrapbooking.  I walked away a little depressed.
But, oh how true it is that, the things we tend to think are so important in this life, end up in a yard sale with a 50-cent price tag on them, with someone saying, “How about 30-cents?”  Even the “precious things” box that a loving child decides to save, actually gets put in the attic for one generation, then thrown out.  Don’t fool yourself… it will likely get thrown out!
I actually think it is helpful to realize this as early as possible in life.  It might help us to make better decisions about our lives.  Are we using our money to inventory yard sales, or to invest in things eternal?  Do people need another “trinket” from us, or would sharing some time with people we care about have greater value?  Even secular companies know that every item purchased is immediately depreciated from the moment you lay down the cash.  (Just try selling a car you just bought!)

Oh that we could learn to live for eternity, and let our earthly actions be based on the things that last!  God, help us “live with the end in view!”
 

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