October 26, 2014

Second Hand News by Marnie Pohlmann

In our first world society, we readily buy what we do not need and throw away what we do not want. Our garbage dumps fill with things that still have life, or that someone can re-purpose to a new life. We send our trash far across the sea to be disposed of where people do not have the ability to say, "Not in my back yard!" Yet these same people in third world countries scour those piles of refuse for useful pieces they can keep, trade, or sell.

Antique stores have always been fascinating to those who could afford them, but second-hand stores, thrift shops, garage sales, and charity depots have become lifesavers for those who struggle to make ends meet, and hobbies for those who like the challenge to refurbish what others do not want. Truly, as the popular saying goes, "one man's junk is another man's treasure."

Writing seems to follow this same desire of discovery. What can I write that has not already been written and shared in a clearer or more entertaining way? What can I teach that others do not already know, and what can I share that others would find of value? The answer has always been - probably nothing. Yet, I now realize writing what is not new should not stop me from offering it as treasure.

“Nothing under the sun is truly new.” (Eccl 1:9b NLT) As I write, teach or share from my own perspective, I in effect take what I experience and discover in my life and throw it out to let others look at it. Some may look past what I offer and not be interested. Some may read yet not find it valuable enough to add to their life collection of learning. Nevertheless, perhaps someone may find a nugget in what I offer, or be able to take a piece and re-purpose it to fit the needs of their own circumstances.

No, I have nothing to say that others have not already said. I have nothing to teach that others have not already discovered. I have nothing to share from my life that others have not already shared. Yet I have a calling by God to use His gift to me, a love of words, to write through the lens of my own life, to teach what I learn from His Word, to share how He walks beside me in life. Even if all I write ends up in the garbage dump, God can place my garbage where it can benefit someone, somewhere, somehow.

So I will write about how God walks with me through hurts, forgiveness, and healing. I will teach what God teaches me through His Word. I will share how God is merciful, loving, and has a sense of humour. I will write these pieces in a way that is uniquely me, and even though what I write, discover, and share may not be new under the sun, I can toss out the words, offering my second-hand news to the world around me. Perhaps my junk will be someone's treasure.

Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.
Phil 4:9 (NLT)


  1. Marnie, that's an incredible insight from the Lord, and such a perfect analogy - junk to treasure.

    You quote Ecclesiastes. In Chapter 3 Solomon talks about the seasons of our lives. Yes, someone else has already gone through this season, learned about it, written about it. But others (like we, the writers), are just entering it. So our learning and sharing is new to us at a time it's new to our peers.

    I never considered it this way. Most illuminating!

    And I love your writing style. You build an argument well!


  2. Taking some antique piece and turning it into something useable again, in actuality, isn't the 'same' piece anymore. Our input and touch upon it makes it 'new', as it's never been in that exact form before.

    And, old news, ideas, and info that people have already shared in some form, as we mulch it with our own spin of experience and particular turns of phrases makes that old word reusable and fresh again.

    We tend to tune out so quickly to the familiar; perhaps that's why He continually prepares writers to come along in the current season to help people see again with new eyes. And to give a new generation who hasn't seen it yet discover the wonder of it for themselves.

    A great post you've shared, Marnie. You've given us a new way to ponder this. Thanks!

    Brenda L.

  3. this is a profoundly beautiful post, Marnie. I do love your writing style...

  4. I like your phrase "to write through the lens of my own life" because it is true, we can all be looking at the same thing but our focus can always be different because we each have a unique life with a unique perspective. That's the beauty of being created by a creative God who does not make clones. I love that about God. And I really like your unique writing style. Thanks for sharing.


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