Trash or Treasure

In recent months I have become a fan of the History Channel's show, American Pickers. Not sure why I never noticed it before since it's been on for years. I enjoy following Mike and Frank and friends trekking across the country to visit collectors of all sorts and more than a few just plain hoarders. Huge stashes of old stuff, from rare and valuable collectibles to barns full of junk. Either way, Mike and Frank always seem to find something of worth and then the bargaining begins. I've noticed if the original collector is still around, he or she usually drives a hard bargain. But in many cases, the older generation has died fairly recently, and their kids are left with huge quantities of stuff that they just want to clear out. I've noticed a thing or two about this next generation of sellers.

First, they have no idea what they have. Most have never paid much attention to Dad's old barn full of junk or his basement collection or the stuff stored in the attic. As Mike and Frank pull items out of the pile, these sons and daughters often have no clue, never seen it before. What is it?

Second, these guys have no idea what Dad's old junk is worth. I love the stunned look on their faces when Mike offers $3500 for an old gas station sign or when Frank offers $800 for a little antique toy. That rusty old truck on blocks behind the barn is worth $12,000. Suddenly, their enthusiasm grows by leaps and bounds. Their eyes ring up dollar signs.

What interest me most about American Pickers is this changing sense of worth from one generation to the next. I guess kids will always tend to devalue their parent's old stuff, much preferring the latest thing, the new technology. It's hard to pass on to our children what they don't want or appreciate. And that goes for a lot more than our antiques and collectibles. 

How do we as moms and dads, grandmas and grandpas, pass down to our children the things that matter most? How do we convince our kids that faith is not a relic of bygone days, but something vital and precious in the here and now? How do we communicate the practical necessity of life in Christ, the Bible, and the fellowship of the church? No easy task, is it?

Someday we'll be gone, and our children will be left to sort through what's left of our lives. I pray they will find more treasure than trash, something vital and real that they have watched us put to good use day in and day out, year after year. I hope they decide to keep it for themselves.


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