Over the weekend my wife and I went to a sprawling outdoor flea market with our friends. There were countless tables of “stuff” overflowing from cars, trucks, and trailers stocked with abundant inventory. We walked row by row past an endless supply of kitchen items, wall hangings, books, jewelry, tools, paintings, fabrics, music memorabilia, and home furnishings. It was a bit overwhelming to consider how much of this was absolutely unnecessary (to me) and yet how packed the market was with interested buyers (like me?).
As we enjoyed this fun outing with friends we actually found a couple treasures each. Before today those items were not in our lives; now they are a part of the flea market memory and have graced a few choice locations of our home. One person’s trash is another person’s treasure?
Our lives are a lot like that flea market. We are filled to overflowing with both the insignificant and the important. The stuff of our lives sprawls for acres before us and when we choose to walk the rows we see it all with greater clarity. Some have become like relics. Other parts of our lives are like treasures. Either way, most of the items are often forgotten, neglected, or buried away amidst the plethora of stuff that occupies and preoccupies our souls today.
One of the items I almost purchased was a tract from the American Tract Society, printed in the late 1800’s/early 1900’s entitled “To-Day.” It was tattered and torn, but filled with well articulated advice about the soul. In the middle of the flea market I read with interest, “Perhaps, reader, you are now in the busy scenes of life ; and what you shall eat, and what you shall drink, and what you shall wear, are considerations which swallow up all your cares. At present you say you can attend to nothing else. You remind me of him who, being asked if he had seen the eclipse, said, ‘No ; I have so much to do with earth, that I have no time to look at the heavens.’ O thoughtless mortal! Are you, then, seeking God, that your soul may live? How many prayers have you presented for an interest in Christ? How much time have you set apart for secret devotion? God and his glorious perfections, Christ and his salvation, the Holy Ghost and his blessed operations, are all nothing to the unconverted man. What are they to you? What are ordinances, Sabbaths, the Bible, and means of grace to you? ‘ To them that believe,’ all these things are ‘precious.’ As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, there may be but a step between thee and death. Pause, ponder, pray. Sparing mercy, what a mercy! Of more worth than ten thousand worlds. Had he dealt with thee according to thy sins, thy body would have been in the grave, and thy soul in hell! But wonder, O heavens! Thou art yet on earth reading a little book, a messenger of mercy, which is telling thee that the God who can bless thee forever, or curse thee forever, is inviting and entreating, nay, even beseeching thee to escape his curse, and accept his blessing. O, if thou didst but know the value of thy precious soul…”
I thought to myself: a little old school to be sure…but these words both refreshed and challenged me in the midst of my flea market experience. As a result, I choose to-day to take time to look at the heavens, for God’s love for me outnumbers the stars in the sky. I’m determined to stop perusing and pursuing the flea market stuff of my life, if even for a few precious moments, and instead pause, ponder and pray. My soul finds rest in God alone…how about you?