Friday I was walking through the Criminal Justice Building to a meeting with one of the Commissioners and a few other people. I was grinning from ear to ear.... Soaring a bit from a new found pleasure. (I can get excited about the simpliest of things.)
I was recently given what I've deemed as "keys to the kingdom".... a card whose swipe gives me entrance into the barred parking lot, all of the locked entrances, and every locked hallway on all the floors of the building. I called the Re-Entry Coordinator on my way in telling him that this was better than candy! And I was still pondering upon that statement as I walked alone down the long corridor to the Commissioner's office.
Candy. I've been craving it lately. So for some silly reason that thought popped into my head. If someone came and offered me a trade... "I'll trade ya! Candy for the card (keys)!"... I was too excited, I wouldn't take it.
That thought (as most thoughts do) prompted another one. I remembered Esau's trade of his birthright to his brother for a something to eat, simply because he was hungry. I was saddened by how quickly we make trades... without first thinking of and considering or weighing the outcome or cost of it.... and usually because we're hungry and our bellies (or our heart's desires) are growling for something.
As kids we will trade this toy for that one.... an apple for an orange... a bag of chips for some cookies.... a favored possession to be included in the "club" that our friends are in.... or I'll tell you a secret if you'll tell me one.... or I won't tell on you if you won't tell on me.....
The list goes on...
And the trades get bigger as we grow older... We make bigger trades with bigger things at stake...
We often think, "I wouldn't trade you for anything".... then before we realize what what we've done, we've traded our spouses, our children, our families and homes for our jobs... or some moment's pleasure... or for another someone.
We'll trade our lives (years of our lives) for a season of drinking or drugs or some substance that one day lands us homeless on the streets or in prison.
We'll trade our joy and happiness and close relationships because some silly thing offended us and we refuse to let the offense go and so loom in and wallow til our dying death in our bitterness.
I thought about Cam Newton (which hasn't been proved true... so I am definitely not saying this is so) which happens to be that morning's rage possibly trading his reputation and career and a huge penalty for years for Auburn for some money illegally passed to him to play there for football. I hope it's not so. And think that it might not be. Yet, even if he didn't, it happens all of the time. Money is passed under the table illegally for a trade of something else all over this world all of the time. Money... and our greed for it... often costs us a LOT more in the long run!
We make trades. We're good at trading. We trade everyday. But do we weigh (and think first) about what we're trading?
I lost my train of thinking the minute I stepped into the office. The conversation there had already been started, so their conversation took me elsewhere.
After a while they begin discussing different judges and their sentencing. Some counties are harsher than others. Some sentences harder and longer depending upon the judge who is sentencing the one that's offended. They were talking about some who were sentenced heavily upon their first felony conviction. And then they gave a recent example...
Just the other day a 63 year old man (who was said to be "a very old 63 year old".... "he looked more to be in his 90's") went into a store to fill his prescription for Hydrocodone. He came out of the store and sold two of those pills to someone in the parking lot. I don't know the details. I don't know if the man knew the guy he sold it to... nor why? I don't know if the man was a friend who suffered great pain and he was selling him two pills in order to help him? I don't know if it was a stranger? I don't know if it was to make a little money because of his great need of it?... Or if it was an act of compassion? Regardless, the trade was a bad one. However much money he got for it, it cost him more than two pills. He got caught. And the judge sentenced him (first offense!) to 10 years in prison!
Wow! Talk about bad trades and a clear example of one that represents one!
I am not at all saying that what the man did was right. I am not condoning what he did. I am just saying that often we do not ever consider the real price and how much our trade will truly cost us. I am saddened by how quickly we fall for the trades that our enemy offers... for a moment's stupid reasoning and a our dulled-senses that failed to recognize the trap hidden behind the deception!
Oh Lord, give us eyes to see! Teach me to follow Your decrees, then I will keep them to the end.. Give me understanding and I will keep Your law and obey it with all my heart... Direct me in the path of Your commands, for there I will find delight... Turn my heart toward Your statutes and not toward selfish gain.. TURN MY EYES AWAY FROM worthless things and preserve my life according to Your Word - Ps 119:33-38.
"For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" - Matt 16:26.
What are you trading???
And in the end will it be worth its trade?