I have always loved to collect things …
In elementary school I began collecting sports cards and did not stop until my senior year of college. By that time I had enough cards to sell about one third of them and make the 10% downpayment on a first home for me and my wife. I still have about 200,000 sports cards to this day, and my favorite is this 1955 Willie Mays baseball card.
Collecting sports cards is common enough, but when I was in college I collected about 15 single suspension calibrated chronographs – otherwise known as pocket watches. I never really carried them around with me much. In fact, I hid them in my underwear drawer. I guess I just liked collecting them even if no one really knew about the collection.
When I was a youth pastor in Indianapolis, I collected over 225 bottles of Kiwi Strawberry Snapple. I consumed all those sugary beverages in one 6-week span of the summer and then proudly displayed the empty bottles in my office window for all to see. Students loved it. My wife hated it!
Soon after the crush on Kiwi Strawberry Snapple concluded, I began to buy VolksWagon buses and collect VW bus models. I have owned three full size VW camper buses and collected about 50 VW bus models. Soon after planting Discovery Church in Southern California we bought a VW campus bus for the church and painted “Mobile Office” on the side. I used to park it a Zuma Beach in Malibu on Thursday afternoons and write message and hold meetings right there in the bus, on the beach. Not many vehicles that allow that kind of diversity!
As a teaching pastor, one of my most important and useful collections is books. I have collected over 2,000 books in the past 15 years, and they are a part of why this home office is one of my favorite places to be.
I am a collector.
It’s in my DNA.
But not everything I collect is novel or inconsequential.
Here are four important things I am choosing to collect this year.
I am not saying I am going to quit collecting things, but I am way more concerned these days about collecting experiences. Most things I collect will fade, break, rust and lose value over time. Experiences, on the other hand, don’t rust. They are virtually unbreakable and often become more valuable with time.
If you give me the choice to invest $1,000 in upgrading my current outdoor summer patio set or $1,000 in a winter ski trip with two friends, I am going to take the ski trip with friends every time.
I have chosen to collect experiences
not things this year.
2. Interesting Friendships.
Several years ago my wife and I visited the Hearst Castle along the central coast of California.
During the tour our guide told us that William Randolph Hearst was famous for throwing elaborate, expensive and often outrageous parties. Most weekends the castle would be full of invited guests from all walks of life. And the criteria for being invited to a Hearst party …
You do not have to be famous, you only need to be interesting.
I love that! And I have come to realize that every single person I meet truly has some interesting, fascinating, unique, intriguing aspect to them. There is some part of their story that is like none other on this planet. It is just up to me to discover it.
I have decided this year that one of my goals will be to really get to know the people I already know.
I plan to spend enough time and ask good questions so I can learn about the curious parts of their life that maybe they don’t often get to uncover and share. I want to understand and celebrate the uniqueness of my friends.
The book of Proverbs says in several places that we should get wisdom.
Proverbs 2:6 (NIV) – For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
Proverbs 3:13-14 (NIV) – Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold.
Proverbs 4:5-7 (NIV) – Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or turn away from them. Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.
Why pay any price to get wisdom?
Well … I believe it is because many of the decisions you and I are called upon to make on a day-to-day basis are not about choosing between right and wrong. More often we find ourselves stuck between one good choice and another good choice. Every single week you make all kinds of decisions and each decision could have 3-5 options – that are all OK and morally permissible.
It’s not which one is the “right” choice – it’s which one is the “wise” choice?
– Should you spend the evening surfing Facebook and watching TV or reading a book and playing a game with your family?
– Should you put your child in kindergarten this year or wait until next year?
– Should you go on a mission trip or to a marriage conference?
– Should you buy a house or rent a house?
There is often no perfect choice – but there is always a wise choice.
Wisdom goes beyond what’s right and wrong and illuminates the best choice based on the complex realities of life.
I want to collect wisdom and reap more wise moments in my life this year.
4. Obeyed Promptings
It was a great encounter.
He was not famous, but he was very interesting.
This year my goal is to collect 52 obeyed promptings. I will journal about them and remind myself that my life is not my own and that I should be readily interruptible and regularly open to God’s grand leading in my life.