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Collectible or Useful?

I've never been one for collecting stuff. I did collect coins in junior high, but that lasted only a few months before I lost interest. When I was younger and our family was traveling around the U.S. and Canada in a travel trailer during the summers, I bought a little flag from each state and Canadian province we visited. The flags got lost in the shuffle and likely wound up in the trash. That's pretty much the extent of my collecting, but, if it makes you happy, get you some seashells or stamps or teacups or vintage fishing reels.


Collecting cars might be fun, I think, especially Corvettes or Army Jeeps, maybe a 40s or 50s pickup truck or two. Broaching the idea would lead to my beloved raising her eyebrows at me - a thing I avoid when possible - and the whole deal would be a bit steep for my wallet. But, I know she'd really love a red Corvette, so maybe one day.


Here's the thing I don't understand about car collectors, at least some of them. They get these wonderful vehicles, perhaps an antique or a Hot Rod, maybe some exorbitantly expensive new sports car, and then they put them up in garage and keep them in mint condition. Some, I know, do drive them, but many rarely if ever take their collectibles out on the road. Not me; I want to hit the highway.


Isn't that why the vehicle was created? All the engineering that went into developing a super fast Maserati that hugs the corners on a windy mountain road goes to waste if the thing sits in a hermitically sealed environment. Sure, it might get dirty or scratched in a parking lot or, heaven forbid, totaled in a wreck, but it was designed for a purpose. If the manufacturer just wanted it looked at, then save the money on the motor and just make a fancy shell.


It's a shame for a car to not fulfill its purpose, but it's a sin for a human life, especially one redeemed by Jesus Christ, to do the same. Christ didn't go to the Cross merely to gather trophies to hang on the wall or collectibles to lock away in a museum. He came to save sinners, to transform us, and then to send us out into the world to live out His purposes. Sure, we'll get a few dents here and there, but the wear and tear is well worth it in the end. We'll have done what we were made, and saved, to do.


And what is that? What is God's purpose for our lives? It's summed up in two admonitions to us; first, the Great Commission and, second, the Great Commandment.


Jesus gave us the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19&20 - Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. That's our first job.


Make disciples. Offer people Christ. Witness in such a way that people respond. Train them and nurture them as they grow and follow Jesus. It's tough work, sometimes frustrating work, but it's the most eternally rewarding thing we will ever do. Imagine knowing that someone will be in heaven in large part due to your witness!


And, Jesus gave us the Great Commandment in Matthew 22:37-39. Love the Lord your God, He said, with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. Love God completely, in other words. Then, He went and added a follow-up - Love your neighbor as yourself.


Love God, love others - that's the Great Commandment. So, we're saved and sent forth to love . . . everybody. Our family. Our co-workers. Our neighbors. Strangers. Even, Jesus says, our enemies. Everybody.


See what I mean about accumulating a few dents and scratches? We won't get far in loving others before we get banged up, but Jesus isn't interested in mint condition Christians. He wants ones that have been out on the byways and highways of life and who have lived out their purpose - sharing the Good News of Jesus and expressing His love to others - for His glory. That beats sitting in a museum or a garage any day, doesn't it?