8/29/07

Collection or Clutter?

Collections can be educational, fun, and definitely varied in type and value.

People collect stamps, coins, figurines, expensive paintings and sculptures, rubber bands, jewelry—even lint! I read about a man in Minnesota named Francis Johnson who collected more than five tons of string and wrapped it into a ball more than 10 feet in diameter! I wonder, where does he store that?

We need discernment or collections will take over. It's hard to organize our homes when they are filled with the clutter of out-of-control collections. My Cherished Teddies figurine collection started with a simple gift, a Teddie in a teacup that represented Friendship. I now have four giant boxes of the sober-faced bears...in the garage. When I decided to get rid of most of them, I couldn't even sell them on Ebay! I thought about all the money involved in purchasing them, and the storage space they require.

The collections that make more sense require little space, cost near-to-nothing, and deeply satisfy. A friend collects photos of children's smiles. Another collects wisdom proverbs. A caring woman collects lightly-used business clothes to share with poor women who enter the work force. She echoes the example of the biblical Dorcas who made garments for the poor. I Timothy 6:18 tells us to be "rich in good works." Good works—a valuable collection that pays eternal dividends.

If I had it to do over, I would choose a collection with better value and consequence. There's nothing wrong with occasional trinkets and tasteful home decorations, but we need to pray for wisdom so our collections do not take over, clutter our homes and lives, and in some cases, become idols. What about you? Need to make a better choice?

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