For a season of a few years, Cathy and I got into the habit of getting up early on Saturday morning and going to area yard (garage, rummage, patio -- what do you call them?) sales. They can be a great way to stretch a person's money, but they can also be a great way to pay someone else so we can haul off their junk for them!
At one of those sales, I remember seeing a brand new, stainless steel Thermos in a gift set with a travel mug. I love coffee and never met a nice mug I didn't want to take home! The price was reasonable -- five bucks -- and I picked it up for purchase.
About that time, Cathy finished rummaging through some possible treasures and looked up to see what I had. "You already have travel mugs you don't use," she said. "Why do you want another one?"
The lady managing the sale heard the comment and Cathy told her, "He just can't seem to pass up another coffee mug."
To which the hostess replied, "Count your blessings. My husband does it with cars, sometimes buying as many as three or four at a time!"
I got home with the mug and Thermos. I don't know if I actually used the mug more than once. I have regularly used the Thermos for the past 15 years.
But that's not the point of this post. I heard Chuck Swindol once say that every thing we acquire costs us...twice. It costs us when we get it -- even gifts cost us in some, minute way -- and it costs us to take care of it.
I have seen this principle lived out with large and small items. Perhaps the epitome of it lies in a story I heard one time. A very young man lost both his parents in an accident. The parents had a very tiny estate and the young man received it as the only money available to begin his adult life. He took the bulk of it and bought a new pickup truck, paying cash and leaving him with a few thousand dollars. He took the rest of the money and spent it all on "toys" to customize his truck. He had nothing left for things like...
Almost immediately, he had an accident. He wasn't hurt, but the truck was a total loss. Too bad he had hadn't learned the lesson of affording something later.
Want to set yourself free? Take inventory of what you have that you really can't afford. Then ask God to help you get rid of it!