Friday, March 6, 2009

But, Can I Afford It Later?

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!


beckiwithani said...

Have you heard about the 100 Things movement? There are people all over the place trying to get all of their possessions down to 100 things. Here's a website of a guy who tried to do it ... it's a fascinating and an attractive idea to me, but I think I'd have a really tough time. (I think food doesn't count!)

An alternate idea, which is really attractive to me and I'd like to try some time, is to have a "one-in, one-out" policy. When a new possession comes into your home, you have to get rid of an old one (preferably in the same category - you get a new shirt, you toss or donate an old one.) Isn't it intriguing?

Liz said...

This is a lesson I wish my husband could learn. He is a packrat of the obsessive-compulsive type. He hangs on to absolutely everything but doesn't take care of his things. I think it all links back to his childhood and he treats his things the way he felt he was treated. He can't hear that from me, of course. I pray a lot that he finds the answers he needs and I pressure him a little about it. He knows in his head he needs to change but he can't find that place in his heart to make it happen.

Sam said...

Becki, do you think my coffee mugsssss can count as one thing?

Liz, I appreciate your understanding and support of your husband. Thanks!