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To Everything There is a Season

Young Richard Sears was a railroad agent in Redwood, Minnesota when he discovered he could order watches from the manufacturer, then reship them to agents down the line who sold them to local people. Sears launched a mail-order company, later teaming up with Alvah Roebuck. 

By 1894, Sears Roebuck & Co. had a 300-page catalog, but orders rolled in so fast that Sears simply burned order forms when he fell too far behind! A brilliant businessman named Julius Rosenwald brought order to the chaos, making many changes and innovations as he made the company work. By 1908, Sears himself was out of the picture, but even in Rosenwald’s massive overhaul of the business, he was wise enough to preserve the best of the past — the “book”, the famous Sears catalog, which has earned a place in American folklore.  (Copied).

For a long time, you could buy cars through the mail from Sears. In the Fall of 1909 ad, the Sears Motor Buggy boasted speeds of up to 25 miles per hour and operation so simple even a child could do it. The price was $395, or just over $10,000 in today’s dollars. 

Until the early 1940s, you could even buy a mail-order house from Sears. The do-it-yourself kit came with everything you needed to build a Sears home, including instructions. Many of these homes are still standing today. This Fall 1932 ad shows a few of the models available for about $1,700, which would be roughly $29,000 today. 

Cell phones used to be bigger and more expensive, too. Sears advertised a “small, lightweight” cell phone from the Fall, 1991 catalog that weighed almost two pounds. Add in the battery, and it goes up to nearly eight pounds. It cost more than $900, or $1,500 after inflation.


But, the electronic age has cast dark shadows of gloom on the massive store chains of our childhood.  With all of the ease of modern shopping from the safety and comfort of home, women who have so many things to do in this modern age don’t have the time or desire to fight traffic to go to the mall or big chain stores regularly.  So, the once iconic Sears store, Sears catalogue, and Sears popularity is now fading.  This month had another update of the store’s decline…..Sears has cut its store count in half within the last five years. The company had 1,002 stores as of early February, down from 1,980 stores in 2013. It closed another 103 stores in April, in addition to the 42 stores that will close by August.  ( 

Solomon sought to make it clear that nothing is forever when he wrote Ecclesiastes 3. “There is an occasion for everything, and a time for every activity.” (v.1).  But with God it is permanent not transient.  “I know that all God does will last forever!” (3:14).  Be sure your hope is resting in the Lord Jesus Who never changes and is the same “yesterday, today, and forever!”