I used to collect baseball and football cards. I had a ton of them. I collected them from 1986-1992. I treasured those cards. They were beautiful. Great graphics. Pictures of great athletes with all their stats. Topps. Donruss. Upper Deck. Fleer. Leaf. I had them all. I put them in the plastic sleeves to protect them. I had them in album binders, special boxes, and a few special cards were in their very own plastic display cases.
I held on to them for 30 years, just knowing that their value would increase over the years. I’d have a small fortune at my disposal! Every time I moved I transported these massive tubs full of cards from house to house; city to city.
During COVID I decided to check and see just how much they were worth. I searched the internet. Nothing. They were worthy absolutely nothing. As it turns out, the baseball card and football card companies in the 80s and 90s had mass produced cards so much that they flooded the market. There were simply too many cards and too few collectors. You couldn’t hardly give them away.
Ultimately, I did find someone who wanted them for their little boy who was starting his card collection. I gave them all away. At least I don’t have to haul them around when I move again!
What kinds of things do we generally value? What kinds of things do YOU value?
Why do we value these things? What makes them valuable? Sentimental value? Monetary value? Do you think you’ll value these things 5 years from now? 20 years from now? Why or why not?
Too often I think we place value on things that either don’t really have intrinsic value or their value is temporary. We value them because they’re shiny, or maybe because they’re new. They bring us some kind of pleasure or joy . . . at least right now . . . in the moment.
We end up holding them close to our hearts. Treasuring them. Carrying them around with us wherever we go, clinging to them like gum to a shoe. We make these things a priority in our lives in terms of the amount of time, attention, and money we spend on them.
Often these things just don’t stand the test of time. Eventually we realize that some of the things we treasure have very little real value or whatever value they had has been lost over time. When we realize this, it’s time to let them go. It’s time to stop giving these things the same priority that we did in the past. Move on. Move on to those things that have real value; lasting value.
What do you value? Make a mental list. Go ahead. I’ll wait.
Can you think of a few things that have true value or meaning? Can you think of those things that will stand the test of time? Make a mental list. Go ahead. I’ll wait.
Are any of the things that you value on that list?
Let’s look and see if the Bible can give us some insight. Read the following Bible verses.
“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 steal.”
Earthly treasures are temporary. You can’t take them with you when you die. (You never see a U-haul trailer behind a hearse at a funeral!)
We ought to prioritize the things that have heavenly, eternal value . . . truth, love (for God and others), peace, kindness, purity, righteousness, relationships, self-sacrifice, etc. Everything else . . . fades away.
“For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?”
Prioritize your relationship with God rather than the things of this world that won’t last or bring long-term joy and fulfillment. Academics, sports, video games, technology, work, etc. . . . these all have some value, but never at the expense of investing in your spiritual journey.
“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”
“Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.”
The apostle Paul knew that compared to knowing Jesus in an intimate relationship everything else is trash.
What do you prioritize above knowing Jesus? Your cell phone? Sports? (soccer/football/volleyball/etc.) Your academic pursuits? Your job? Your boyfriend/girlfriend?
Do you need to shift some priorities?
“. . . for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.”
Do you let your love for sports “bodily training” get in the way of pursuing Jesus? Paul told Timothy that while it has some value, it doesn’t have the real value that godliness does.
“How much better to get wisdom than gold!
To get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver.”
In the book of Proverbs “wisdom” is defined as knowing God and following His teachings and truths revealed in the Bible. Pursue godly wisdom rather than silver (or anything this world values).
Spend some time reflecting over the lists you’ve made and the Bible verses you’ve read.
Ask God to help you let go of some of the things you shouldn’t value. Or maybe you need to ask Him to help you shift your priorities so that knowing and pursing the heart of Jesus has the highest priority in your life.
Make a plan for how you are going to shift your values/priorities. How will you shift your time, attention, or money to reflect your new priorities?