So, guys, imagine that one day you follow your wife into this porcelain store. You’re doing your good husband thing because you were in a marriage seminar in your church last week.
They told you that there is a world outside of football on television.They suggested you share an experience with the love of your life–something that she likes to do.
That’s why you’re here. While she seriously peruses the merchandise you look around, a bit lost. “I saw this one at Walmart for $2.95,” you say to yourself as you pick up a blue vase.
“Kind of pretty,” you say to yourself, when suddenly you hear a shrill voice cry out, “Sir, don’t handle the merchandise!”, followed by the voice of your lady who is more succinct, “Put that down! That’s a Chinese Han Dynasty vase from 200 B.C. It costs $200,000!”
You stagger as you hear this and the vase falls from your hands. Hearts leap into throats all around the shop but your old baseball instincts leap into action and you bend swiftly and catch it before it hits the floor. (Flickr, creative commons, Xuan Che china ceramics – dragon and phoenix pot Palace Museum, Beijing.)
Quickly you put it back in its place, then stand with your hands behind your back whistling softly, trying to look innocent. The sales lady comes over, fixing you with a glare that would curdle milk. She inspects her merchandise as your wife takes your arm and ushers you outside. “I can’t take you anywhere,” she scolds.
For once you say nothing in return. Your life flashed in front of your eyes as that vase was falling. $200,000!
If only you had known what you had in your hands, you wouldn’t have had it in your hands.
Do You Know What You Have?
The Bible tells the story of a hairy hunter named Esau. He was the firstborn of a family that had God’s promise that they would help shape the destiny of the world. Esau should have been the man who picked up this promise from pappy Isaac. First-born of the family, inheritor of the promise of God. Never happened.
One day, he was returning empty-handed from a long hunt and he was hungry enough to eat an unskinned camel. His little brother Jacob was sitting there making red beans and rice with cornbread, or whatever the 1200 a.d. equivalent of that meal was.
It smelled good. Good! His salivary glands screamed, “I want that!”
Esau rarely disobeyed his glands in any area of his life and he asked little brother for something to eat. Little brother was a shrewd businessman and he desperately wanted the promise that went with being the eldest son of this family. He wanted it even more than Esau wanted beans.
So, they made a deal. Esau got a bowl of beans and Jacob eventually, after he quit striving in his own power, got a promise and a blessing that lasts through eternity.
Later on Esau realized what he had lost and tried to get it back. No way.
“Watch out for the Esau syndrome: trading away God’s lifelong gift in order to satisfy a short-term appetite. You well know how Esau later regretted that impulsive act and wanted God’s blessing—but by then it was too late, tears or no tears.” (Hebrews 12:14-17, The Message)
Sometimes, we forget how valuable God’s gift is. How long has it been since tears sprang to our eyes as we sang of the Cross of Jesus, that gift that surpasses human words?
And wrong feels so neutral when we want to sin. It doesn’t seem like there will be any consequences and those red beans smell sooooooooooooo good.
Pornography? “Oh, you know, we’re all human?” Pride? “I know I shouldn’t talk about people behind their back but do you know what she did to me?” Lies. “If I tell the truth it will be too complicated. Just this time.” Adultery. “I know, but what can I do? I’ve fallen in love.”
God’s people meeting together? “My church is so dead. I go some, but I’ve got a lot to do on Sundays.” Telling others about Jesus? “I’ll get around to talking to them. Not now.”
Are you holding a billion dollar vase in your hands and treating it like a Blue-light special? Careful.
“So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For, ‘In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay.’
“And, ‘But my righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.’ But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.” (Heb. 10:35-39, NIV)
Hmmm– I’d rather be an artist than an art critic, a musician than a music critic- Pastor John Lindell
Smile– When I was a young man I asked an old rich man if he could tell me how he made his money. In response, the gentleman fingered his worsted wool vest and said…”Well son, it was 1932. The depth of the Great Depression and I was down to last nickel. I invested that nickel in an apple. I spent a whole day polishing that apple and at the end of the of day I sold the apple for ten cents. The next morning I bought two more and I spent the whole day polishing them. I sold them for 20 cents. I continued this for a month and I had accumulated a fortune of $1.37….Then my wife’s dad died and left us with two million dollars.” (Passed on by Jerry Van Horn).