Wednesday, March 15, 2006

What makes a fine antique?

"If I should live to a ripe old age
May I possess some bit of individuality, charm and wit.
That I may not be discarded when I am withered, worn, and weak,
But sought after and cherished like a fine antique."


What makes a “fine antique”?

To be an “antique” something must be old - but not all “old” things are “fine antiques.” What’s the difference, and what would make one “sought after like a fine antique?”

To be a “fine” antique, something must be valuable, but what defines value?

Value is different in different situations, and means different things to different people.

If something is rare, it is often valuable, but is rarity alone enough to make one “sought after?”

Sentiment is another thing that creates value. To an individual or group, a memory of what once was and the feelings something stirs, creates great value. But, I wouldn’t want to be “sought after” because of what I once was, or could do - would you?

Value is also created by usefulness, as we often say in my business, “a chair is only as good as the seat that’s in it…” In other words, the oldest, most unusual, and memory jogging rocking chair is not valuable if it is broken down in pieces. If it has no seat, the “value” is greatly diminished.

But “usefulness” alone doesn’t define value, either.

Something doesn’t become a “fine antique” in a day. It takes years of being used for that which it was created - often times suffering a nick, or a scratch, or a chip. The finish becomes “weathered” and worn to a fine patina, and refinishing diminishes the “value” immensely.

Caring for the piece as the years go by - oiling the hinges, honing the blades, or polishing the finish, insures its longevity and function.

So, what would make one “sought after like a fine antique?”

Perhaps it is all these things…

“If I should live to a ripe old age…” May I have a wisdom and wit that is rare in its significance. May I retain a touch with history, without living in the past. And may I remain “useful” not just in my ability to “do” depending only on my physical strength, but in sharing what has so freely been given to me.

May I labor at the tasks God has laid out for me - enduring, and even embracing each nick, and each scratch, and each chip as a sign of successful service. And, may I deal with the “weathering” as a part of life and not put undue emphasis on it.

May I continually care for my charge - for whatever gift God has given me, and may I persistently “oil the hinges, and hone the blades and polish the finish” to insure a stewardship of purpose for as long as God would have me serve.

And then, I would indeed be a “fine antique” - sought after and prized as I reflect the “personality” of my Owner…



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