When I sit down and watch the TV show, “American Pickers” (a show about a couple of guys that remind me a little of Abbot and Costello that travel around the country looking for used things hidden among trash that may have some value), I am often amazed by the toys they find.
First of all, I am amazed they find any toys at all.
I don’t think a single toy exists that was in my arsenal of cap pistols, Tonka Toys and Hot Wheels. Yes, I remember when Hot Wheels first became a thing. I had to have them.
I was apparently a very destructive kid. Of course, we also had some pretty powerful fireworks and I was left unsupervised to blow some things up. This is also the reason many of my sisters’ toys no longer exist.
I usually felt like I got some pretty good value for my toys. They were used hard until they broke or looked ugly and then they were destroyed in a ritual only young boys can understand.
But, the American Pickers not only find old toys, they find old toys that have barely been used. Sometimes, they find toys that have not been used at all and are still in the package.
I think that is pretty cool but I also think it is a shame.
What makes a kid get a cool Tonka Truck car hauler with a couple of ’65 Corvettes on the back and leaves it in the box?
That toy was made to be used. I had one of those and I can still sit here five decades later and remember the dirt road I made for that truck to roll over, the imaginary car lot where he unloaded the cars and my fantasy of being the guy to buy one of those cars from the car lot and drive away through the dust and grass.
I can sometimes sit and wish I still had that toy to give to my grandson but that truck was a gift from mom and dad and I played with it a lot. It took me places far beyond the back yard and the fence that kept me inside.
As far as I am concerned, the best gifts are used, not put away in a box to be brought out at some point in the future after my imagination no longer can bring that gift to life.
Ephesians 4:7 However, he has given each one of us a special gift through the generosity of Christ.
Now, I am all about receiving gifts. But, what do I do with the gifts God has given me? Well, I peck away at this keyboard as often as I can hoping I can put something out there that God uses. I may not be a great writer but I have a tendency to make people think if they take the time to read.
I do a few other things, too.
In the past, I have taken God’s gifts and tried to use them for myself. I tried to be a musician and get myself famous and rich. You can see how famous I am and I am less rich than I am famous.
I tried to destroy my gifts like a misguided younger version of myself with a pack of Black Cat firecrackers and a bunch of those green plastic Army men.
I have tried to hide my gifts and pretend there was nothing expected of me because I was unworthy and unusable.
But God has gifted us all. Whether all you have to offer is encouragement or sound advice or just quiet company, God is calling you to get that gift out of the closet, bust open the package and get it dirty and worn.
There are no special awards for arriving in heaven with your gifts in mint condition in the original packaging.