Some of my favorite memories as a child were Saturday mornings with my dad. We’d hit flea markets, Half Price Books and garage sales scouting for treasures and talking. My wife would say that these memories are what make me stop at every HPB, just to have a look and browse around.
Twenty years later, my dad and I still hit a sale from time to time. But now there’s something new in my stomach that didn’t register as a child, a feeling that uncurls in me at these estate sales, looking through someone’s garage with a bunch of strangers and picking out trinkets to add to my collection from theirs.
Maybe it’s that I’m a dad now, and a new realm of fear and desire came with the birth of my first child. I want to provide the best I can for her—to bless her and show her my love through what I can give her. There’s a fear of not being able to provide the things she needs, let alone the extra that would be icing on the cake. Maybe it’s that as a child I worked angles to get things because I knew my parents loved me, so there is a fear of being taken for granted.
Maybe it’s the estate sale last spring where I looked down at a workbench, and amid the wrenches and reloading equipment lay a pair of glasses, coated in dust, sitting on a roll of tape. Right where the wearer had left them.
And here I was, in his garage, adding from his collection to mine.
The wrestle of wealth, of making enough and having enough, is a dark space in my soul—the struggle for contentment against a sliding scale in a world that rejects less as more and sees more as a means to happiness. It’s where I have to preach to myself the truth I know when the lie is in front of me.
I can’t remember much of the stuff that my dad bought me at garage sales, flea markets or bookstores growing up. I doubt much of it has made its way into my adulthood. But I can tell you what has: the memories of Saturdays. Time with my dad, listening to stories, asking questions.
The writer of Hebrews tells us, “…be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’” But right before that he says, “keep your life free from the love of money.” I wouldn’t come right out and tell you I love money, but the desires I have for my family would tell you that I think money is the answer. And every garage sale reminds me that I am not alone.
Who you have will outlast what you can buy. Be content with what you have, for He has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” The better thing for my daughter than to get every trinket she wants? To have a daddy who gives his attention and helps train her to recognize good desires leading to false loves. To be someone who shows her the One who is better. I just wish my own heart would be fully resolved, as I try to lead hers.
But in my weakness there is contentment because He has not left me. That revelation is the call for my heart to trust Jesus with my daughter and all my desires—and to believe He is better.