Twice a year my husband and I go to a Junk Hunt in a city about an hour away. We make a day of it and thoroughly enjoy looking through repurposed items, antiques, and literal junk. During our “hunt” this fall I came across some framed family photos that were probably taken in the late 1800’s. Their serious faces made me a little sad, but that was just a by-product of the times. I was more affected by the thought that these people who loved each other, laughed together, worked hard, and lived a real life, were now for sale to random people who didn’t even know them. Why wasn’t this nice framed photo hanging in the living room of their great, great, great, great granddaughter? Why wasn’t there some acknowledgement of the meaning of their lives that was passed forward to their descendants of today?
After our time at the Junk Hunt we had a late lunch. We talked about items we wished we could have bought, but we were pleased with our finds and the great bartering we did! We contemplated why people loved to hunt for junk in the first place. Think about it…we are probably the most consumer-oriented society ever. Everything is temporary and disposable. Major household items that used to last forever (we have a fridge from the 1940’s still purring away in our basement) are actually made to degenerate quicker so we have to buy those big-ticket items again, sooner. But it’s not only manufacturers that create this need; we toss perfectly good items because we long for new and different.
And yet…repurposed goods are all the rage! What is it that makes us want old junk that someone else has already used and discarded? Do we feel more grounded with antiques around us? Is it actually the frequency of “new” that causes us to long for something permanent? Do we feel better about our over-spending on every new trend and all the things we’ve discarded, because we’ve acquired something re-purposed and recycled?
One of my grand finds from last year is a 100-year-old farm hutch. It was slightly mended, but the original hardware and glass are still in great shape. The hutch was painted in a haphazard shabby-chic deep red and it makes me smile every time I go into my kitchen. I even make up stories about its history and the families that have used it in the past! Even after a year, I still send up a little thank-you prayer about once a week when I pull a dish or serving platter out of my red farm hutch.
During the week of Thanksgiving I changed-up my daily Bible reading and decided to look up every verse related to “thankful” – that included thank, thanks, thankful, thanksgiving. It’s all in the concordance at the back of my Bible, easy enough. But as I started reading the verses I had to give myself some context, so I read the paragraph and even the entire chapter for some verses. Those people during the days of the old and new testaments of the Bible might have lived in a different culture at a different time in history, but they were more similar, than different, to you and me today. They all had hopes and dreams like us. They had fears and worries and struggles. They longed for fulfillment and joy, and they probably bought, traded or bartered for items they thought would meet those needs – just like us.
Throughout history humanity has sought what will give them happiness, whether that’s the new or the repurposed. But only in God will we find that treasure we seek. It can’t be found at the junk hunt or the big-ticket stores. Our need for the permanent, the stable, the grounded is found only in our God. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow (Hebrews 13:8).
On my living room wall there are framed photos of my ancestors who are long gone. I’m not sure if they had a relationship with Jesus; but as far as my legacy goes, I want my testimony to be what the Lord has done in my life, all of His wonderful acts (1 Chron. 16:8, Psalm 9:1). I pray for my children and theirs that they will know how good God is, and the truth that His love is the only thing that lasts forever.
“Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; His love endures forever! (Psalm 100, 107, 136)