I grew up with a big brother and many friends around. We did a lot of things together such as kickball games and whiffle ball in my backyard, sledding in the winter, hiking through the woods and fishing in the summer and playing baseball on a little league teams. We always seemed to have plenty of fun doing the things we loved.
One thing that kept us busy quite often is baseball cards. Back in those days you could buy a pack of 5 baseball cards with a big slab of gum for 5 cents. Of course, we never knew which cards we were going to get in the pack and so we would usually buy several packs, hoping to get that special card like Carl Yastrzemski or Mickey Mantle. And we didn’t have just a few baseball cards – we had a lot of baseball cards.
The games we played with these baseball cards went on and on and on. One game was called flip. It’s pretty simple. We would take a card in our fingers and flip it towards the ground. The card flutters down and come up either heads or tails. Then the next person has to match that. If they match it they take your card. If they don’t you get the cards. Flip was one of my favorite games and I was very good at it. My collection would grow on a regular basis.
The next game we played was touch. Just as it says, we would flip the cards just like before except the object now was to touch the other cars that were already on the ground. This took careful planning because if there was just a little bit of wind it affected the card. Whatever card you touched became yours. If you touched several cards, you got all of those cards. These games could go on for quite a while before anybody touched anything because of the inaccuracy of flipping the cards. Touch was quite frustrating at times but I always seem to come out on top. And the rewards could be huge. 10, 20 or even 30 cards could be won at once on a breezy day.
The third game was one that I can’t remember the name of. We would lean a card up against the wall and we would toss a card, kind of like a frisbee, against that wall, trying to knock the card down. Whoever knocked the card down first took all the cards that had been thrown up to that point. This was a game that usually lasted a while and could get you a lot of cards at once.
Then there was the trade. We would trade cards quite often. Somebody might want one particular player and so you would trade him for something you had – usually one you had more than one of. Maybe you were trying to get the full team at one time or maybe you just like that player because he was good and you have to give up something really good to get him. We didn’t do this as much because we enjoyed the games more than just trading.
At the end of the year, it wasn’t unusual for me and my brother to get up on the top of our garage and take the cards that we had with us. We always seemed to have a shoebox full – a thousand or more. In that collection, there were a lot of rookie cards and famous player cards. We would gather the rest of the neighborhood kids around p 5 or 10 of them – and we would throw our cards to them. We didn’t see any need to keep them until the next year – we would just get more!
Little did we know that decades later these cards could be worth a fortune. Having over a thousand cards without duplicates was quite a collection. But we never thought about the fact that they could have been worth something. I envy those people who did think they would gain value and kept them. I had several very elite cards, like a Mickey Mantle rookie card and a Roger Maris the year he broke the homerun record. I had Carl Yastrzemski rookie card. For those of you who don’t know him, he was the last person to win baseballs triple crown in 1967. These cards would be worth quite a bit today but I never thought about their future value when I was a kid.
Isn’t that how we are sometimes with the most precious things in life? We don’t see their value until we don’t have them anymore. I look at it the peace that God gives me on a day-to-day basis. I would be frantic without that peace, yet so often I put it behind me to take pleasure in something that I shouldn’t. And that peace can be destroyed because I’m now at enmity with God. In order to restore that peace, I need to repent and come to God asking Him to take away that thing which I’ve done against Him and restore peace to my soul.
God gives us a peace that passes all understanding. But that only comes when we take things to the Lord in prayer and don’t get anxious or worried about His provision, His guidance and His love. It only comes when I strive for the perfection He would like me to have, patiently enduring trials while my faith is growing. Peace only comes when I am not walking in sin.
He’s always there for us and yet we often forget that. In those times when we forget what He supplies by His grace, His peace will leave because we take it for granted. We get comfortable in that peace, and before we know it, our peace is gone. We have come to a place where we think that peace is ours no matter how we are walking. But His peace only comes from the Holy Spirit. When we walk in sin, the Holy Spirit is there to convict us of that sin so He can bring us back into His peace.
Peace is just one example. Joy, Hope and other fruits of the spirit are the same. We can exchange them – trade them – for being more comfortable in this world. We flip our priorities from Godly principles to worldly principles. We want to touch the pleasures this world affords, and forget that it is at the expense of the heavenly things we have grown accustomed to when walking with God. Before we know it, the fruit of the spirit have dried up and we long for them again.
As you go your way today think about the things that are really precious in your life. Make sure that your guard those with all that you can and don’t just flip them away. It can be much harder to get them back once they are gone.