By Iola Goulton
Paeroa is a small town not far from where I live. It has two claims to fame. It’s the home of L&P, our national soft drink which is World Famous in New Zealand. (I wrote a blog post explaining the history of L&P here.) It's other claim to fame is newer, yet older.
Paeroa is famous for its antique shops.
My husband and I visited some of those antique shops recently. We weren’ t looking for anything in particular—we were driving through Paeroa on one of our weekend drives, and decided to stop and look. It was an interesting afternoon, but one which left me feeling somewhat sad.
Some of the shops were small and cramped, filled with an eclectic mix of china, cutlery, glassware, clothes, books, tools, and telephones all mixed in together. Some items were definitely antique, while others looked more like second-hand—old and tired. Other shops were larger and more spacious, with different spaces for different categories of goods for sale.
There were many beautiful things for sale—some of which were familiar as items I remember seeing in my grandmother’s house when I was a child. A lot of the prices seemed more than reasonable, especially considering what items of comparable quality would cost today–and what the items themselves would have cost when new.
There were complete china dinner sets, with eight or twelve settings. Silver cutlery sets in beautiful presentation cases. Glass and crystal fine enough to grace any table. Classic brands such as Wedgewod, Royal Albert, and Crown Lynn. Everything was in perfect condition, even the “everyday” crockery.
Yet it was all sitting in a what was essentially a junk shop. Unused.
I wondered why. People had paid good money for these beautiful things, these beautiful unused things. I thought of my crockery at home—plates covered in knife marks, some newer than others because we’ve bought new pieces over the years to replace those pieces which have been chipped or broken.
I thought of my cutlery set, a wedding present which hasn’t had all eight pieces in a long time. The teaspoon monster strikes often in our house. And I wondered …
All these beautiful things. Had they ever been used?
Were they unwanted gifts, stored in the back of a cupboard for years, forgotten, then sold or given away when the owners moved house (or moved into an old folks’ home). Were they precious pieces, bought for “best”, and never used for fear of breaking the delicate china?
Either way, it seems like a waste.
People spent hours earning the money to buy these things which were rarely or never used. Then they were packaged up and sent off to an antique shop—donated, or sold for a fraction of their original price. I hope the original owners got some enjoyment out of these items, gifts or not.
Because to receive a gift and never use it is a waste.
To have a talent and never use it is a waste.
It reminded me of the gifts we’ve been given—not so much the physical gifts we receive for Christmas and birthdays, but the gifts God has given us. Too often, we waste or squander what we’ve been given.
That too is a waste.
May we remember to use and appreciate our God-given gifts and talents. May we not waste them or squander them by leaving them sitting on a shelf until it’s too late.
And the Gift of Salvation. May we never waste or squander that gift.
About Iola Goulton
I am a freelance editor specialising in Christian fiction. Visit my website at www.christianediting.co.nzto download a comprehensive list of publishers of Christian fiction.
I also write contemporary Christian romance with a Kiwi twist—find out more at www.iolagoulton.com.
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