Folks collect the strangest things. People treasure antique furniture, fine art, books, depression glass, china, comic books, toys, vinyl records, classic cars, VHS tapes, crystal, jewelry, ceramics, thimbles, trading cards, balls, coins, stamps and coffee mugs. Others accumulate stranger things like rocks, driftwood, bottles, marbles, matchbooks and seashells. I knew a man in Sheridan, Arkansas, who kept his toenail clippings in a container by the fireplace—strange things indeed.
There are two reasons people hold onto collectible items—they are either valuable, or they are memorable. Some things have financial worth—others have emotional connections. In truth, a collectible item is any object that has intrinsic value or interest to a collector.
One year, my aunt, Lucille Franklin, from Malvern, Arkansas, gave us five or six old plastic toy cars to place around our tree at Christmas time. Considering our children and grandchildren, Pat and I thought they would enjoy playing with them. There was a Railway Express truck, like my Uncle Roy used to drive, a red 1957 Chevrolet like they used to own, a 50’s model pickup truck, a vintage sports car and others. For several years we enjoyed displaying them at Christmas. My grandsons loved to run them, and crash them, up and down our hallway when our family got together. That fun lasted—until I learned how valuable those old toys were! One old plastic toy car was valued at $800, and all the rest were worth between $400 and $500 dollars each. So, our two-person family leadership council went into executive session and unanimously decided to leave the antiques in the attic, and replace them with newer, neater and cheaper playthings. It was perfect, the old toys were preserved, and my grandsons never knew the difference.
Many things people collect have no monetary value. In every room of our house Pat and I display valuable items, collected over 50 years of marriage, 5 children, 12 grandchildren and thousands of miles traveled. Most of it is worthless to anyone but us. We have rocks from Mount Sinai, Golgotha, the Sea of Galilee, as well as volcanic rocks from Arizona, and precious (to us) stones our children picked up at the Russian River, Jamestown, Pike’s Peak and Gatlinburg. We treasure seashells from the Tasman and Coral Seas, Talikud Island, Vanuatu, Guadalcanal, San Gregorio, Fort Morgan and Camp Lejeune Marine Base. We are the proud owners of a Maasai fly swatter from Kenya that is actually a cow’s tail. Another prized possession is a badly worn trace chain from a storm cellar door that my grandfather held during rough storms in Lipan, Texas. These are all precious collectibles.
So, what transforms worthless objects into precious collectibles? The answer is—memories! Tied to each rock, shell, card, or stick is a unique memory. What makes them special are the precious people and events connected with these objects. The person who held the trace chain, the child who found the precious rock, the people who walked the beach with you searching for beautiful shells—these memories make precious collectibles. The valuable object triggers the precious memory.
This is a great reminder of what we are to God. Our intrinsic value is that we were made in God’s image and were redeemed by Christ’s blood. Peter reminds us that, “He Himself bore our sins in His own body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed” (1 Peter 2:24). God places such high value on people that, “He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Because of our sin, we deserve death, but because of God’s love, He offers the gift of life—“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
We are somewhat worthless to most people except our Savior and those who love us. But He made us and redeemed us to glorify and serve Him forever. In that, we find our true value. When we come to Christ, trusting Him to save us, He makes us brand new! “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Corinthians 5:17). When God looks at one of His redeemed people, He sees a masterpiece in the making. “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).
In Christ, we are loved, saved, redeemed and made precious. Someone said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and that is true. When God looks at us, he sees our true worth, our importance and our future—because He sees His Son in us.
About His people, God said, “And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels” (Malachi 3:17). As Peter wrote, you are a person “for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9). Our Savior, Jesus Christ, “gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds” (Titus 2:14).
So, don’t waste your life or settle for less than God’s best. Accept Christ as your Savior, then begin to live the life He has planned for you. You are a valuable jewel and a precious collectible to God!