8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ ~ Philippians 3:8 (NKJV)
By Bro. John L. Cash
For about a year, I had a flea market booth. It was the best flea market booth in North America. I’m serious. The owner of the flea market said that all day long he watched people get out of their vehicles, come in the front door, and head directly for my booth. There was a simple reason for this. I sold all my items for ridiculously low prices.
I was able to do this because I got all my merchandise for free. Susan and I had lived in a parsonage for 30+ years and were getting ready to move into our own home. You can accumulate a lot of stuff in your storage rooms in the course of three decades.
Also, Susan and I had reached the age to where it is our job to clean our relatives’ homes. (Some of them went to Heaven. Others went to assisted living.) Whenever you’re cleaning out your great-aunt’s house, it’s easy to say, “I think I’ll take this great sewing kit, or coffee table, or galvanized bucket.” The novelty quickly wears off when you get home and realize you already have those things but no storage space. In that case, some things simply have to “go.”
My goal was simple. I just wanted to get rid of all the extraneous things in my life without having them go to waste. I wanted my junk to go to good use. So, for instance, I would sell people a new galvanized bucket for two dollars — just to get rid of it. Other vendors told me I was crazy and that I was making them look bad. They started to buy stuff from my booth, jack up the price I had marked on it and then sell it at their booths. Alas, I can go back to the flea market to this day and still see my junk sitting (unsold) at those greedy vendors’ booths. You see, I’m convinced in my heart that my original price was the correct price.
I learned a profound lesson about the universe when I was in the flea market business. Everybody has a “trophy.” And most folks in this world think their junk is worth a lot more than it actually is. The best example of this is those glass insulator things that sat on top of vintage telephone poles. People think they are rare (even though there were 8 of them on every telephone pole in the world back in the day.)
I can’t understand why every vendor in America thinks they can sell those for $15 apiece. There’s a glut in the market. Instead of selling glass-telephone-pole-insulators, you should hand them out to children on Halloween. Or put them on somebody’s doorstep and ring the doorbell and run. Nobody wants them. The vendors don’t even want them. After all, they have them up for sale, don’t they?
Oh, isn’t it amazing how much we human beings love our “stuff”? Everybody has a “trophy” they’re not willing to part with. Sometimes they become stumbling blocks that hinder our progress. But, as Christians, we need to hold onto these things more loosely and always and ever draw closer to our Saviour.
The song we sing in the country church says it best:
“So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross
Till my trophies at last I lay down.
I will cling to the old rugged cross
And exchange it someday for a crown.”
Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 33 years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. He’s a retired Mississippi public schoolteacher with grown sons, and is now a stay-at-home-grandpa with his grandson, Landon Cash. He and his lovely wife, Susan, live in a brick house in town (where the outdoor cats on the back porch have been complaining about the rain this week.) You can send him a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.