I must make a confession: I enjoy watching American Pickers on the History Channel. The adventures of Mike Wolf and Frank Fritz have captured my attention numerous times in the past three or four years. Even though I turn away from most “reality shows,” and even though I know some of the show’s elements are set-up, I am drawn in by the pursuit of historical things and the bargains Mike and Frank find.

Week after week, they encounter people who are in possession of “stuff” they have collected for years. The meeting with the “pickers” may come by apparent chance, by solicitation, or by a call going out following the death of loved one. The latter circumstance being the result of a decision to mark the passing of a time of life, as well as the person who was part of the time of life.

In a recent commercial for American Pickers, Mike Wolf expressed his own fascination with the people they meet and their attachment to “inanimate objects” (i.e., “stuff”). Indeed, as I watch some of the interchanges between the “pickers” and the collectors, I see the clear hesitation, and even refusal to part with some item because of the emotional attachment to that object on the part of the collector.

As I think about the pickers and the collectors they meet, I am well aware of three things. First, I am very aware of the ease of becoming attached to things. If we pay a high price for something, or if someone we value highly owned that object, we may become very possessive of it. Value of money spent and value of relationships cause us to want to hold on to things. We must remember that things are capable of being destroyed in a moment and will eventually “wear out” or “rust out.”

Secondly, I am aware the Bible warns me that I am not to love or trust in things. Jesus himself said, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and stea;” (Matthew 6:19,20).

Finally, we must remember we cannot take things with us when we die. No matter how good it makes us feel to place objects with bodies in caskets, we must not deceive ourselves into thinking those things will be used by them again. Paul reminded his friend, Timothy (and thus us, as well), “for we brought nothing into the world and we cannot take anything out of the world (1 Timothy 6:7).

Let us be discerning in the things we buy and the things we receive. Let us take care to not become attached to “stuff.” Because, “where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:21).

Lance Cordle
Calvery City, KY

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