The Everlasting Gobstopper
On Spending by AJ Avila
Occasionally I watch the television show Pawn Stars, shown on the History Channel. It can provide a fascinating look at historical objects, some of which are museum quality.
In a recent episode, the owner of the pawn shop (located in Las Vegas) took a trip to Los Angeles to procure more merchandise for his store. In particular he was searching for movie memorabilia.
But my jaw dropped at the amount of cash he doled out for one item: more money than my husband and I paid for our house. So what was it? The ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz? Perhaps Sam’s piano from Casablanca?
For a measly $100,000 he bought the Everlasting Gobstopper prop from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
I’m not kidding.
I wish I were kidding.
Wait. It gets worse. The pawn store owner bought it for that price because he figures he can sell it at a profit. That’s right: he believes that somewhere out there is a person willing to pay even more for a brightly-colored thingamajig about the size of your big toe.
I puzzled over why someone would consider this item to have any worth. Personally, I wouldn’t pay 2¢ for it. What’s the value in owning such a thing? So you can show off to your friends that you’ve got the Everlasting Gobstopper and they don’t? Is this supposed to produce some sort of one-upmanship over your neighbors?
But even more – I was appalled because that money could do so much good elsewhere. What could a free clinic do with a check for that amount? Or your local crisis pregnancy center?
Imagine going for judgment before Christ and when He asks you what you did with your life, you explain that hey, you bought yourself the Everlasting Gobstopper!
Spending your money like that kind of sounds like a way to get yourself classified as a goat instead of a sheep, huh?
Anyway, I was feeling rather smug and superior about the whole business – when all of a sudden it occurred to me that I do exactly the same thing.
Except I do it in an even worse way. Oh, I don’t go out and waste a lot of moola on movie props. I waste something even more valuable.
I waste time.
Time is always more precious than money. Money I can always earn more of. I can’t earn more time.
In fact, my life is made up of time.
And how much of it have I spent playing video games or watching some inane television show? That’s time I could have spent doing something valuable like praying, especially for the conversion of sinners and for the souls in Purgatory.
When I stand before Christ for judgment, what am I going to say? Something like “Hey I spent a lot of my life on video games and stupid television shows”?
May I always remember that when I point my finger at someone, I have three fingers pointing back at myself.
After all, it’s not gobstoppers that are everlasting. It’s our souls.
AJ Avila is the author of four Christian novels: Rain from Heaven, Amaranth, Nearer the Dawn and Cherish. Her website can be found by clicking here: AJ Avila Reflections