Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Life Lessons From An Auction

One week ago I went to an estate auction hoping to purchase a house. We didn't get the house, but we did get a helpful reminder. This was an estate auction, which means that everything was being sold from the house. All the dishes, all the chairs, all the tools, everything that had any value.

I took my boys with me to the auction. At auctions like this, there are tables and tables of stuff. And they are sold as fast as the auctioneer can make his way through them. At one point in the auction, I grabbed both of my boys and whispered some words of instruction in their ear. Here is what I told them:

Look at the stuff. Each and every thing on that table at one point in this person's life was so important that they thought it necessary to spend money to purchase it. It meant something to them. And now they are dead and all their stuff is going to the highest bidder, whoever will give a buck for it.

I told them that possessions and earthly things are trivial. I wanted them to see it. I told them it reminded me of a passage of the Bible from the richest man who ever lived. The man who had all the stuff. King Solomon in Ecclesiastes made these statements about stuff:
"I enlarged my works: I built houses for myself, I planted vineyards for myself; I made gardens and parks for myself and I planted in them all kinds of fruit trees; I made ponds of water for myself from which too irrigate a forest of growing trees. I bought male and female slaves and I had homeborn slaves. Also I possessed flocks and herds larger than all who preceded me in Jerusalem. Also I collected for myself silver and gold and the treasure of kings and provinces" (Ecc 2:4-8).
He had it all! He had everything he could ever have wanted. And if he didn't have it, he could have bought it at a moment's notice. What would that be like? Many people dream of that. I am sure my boys dream of that. I dream of that from time to time. What did Solomon think of it?
"Thus I considered all my activities which my hands had done and the labor which I had exerted, and behold all was vanity and striving after wind and there was no profit under the sun" (Ecc 2:11).
It was meaningless. It was useless. It didn't profit him any real or meaningful satisfaction. It was just here then gone. And all those things that he just had to have in order to find happiness will just be there going to the highest bidder after he is gone.

As I told that to my boys, I asked them to think of that as they desire more and more things in life. And I thought of that for myself. It's just another earthly possession, do I really need it? Do YOU need it? What do you think?

1 comment:

  1. great reminder! maybe I'll take the kids to an auction this weekend...


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