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True Value

What has more value, gold or water?

Before you answer that question, let me tell you a little story.

Wilbur had done his research. Native American folklore, geological surveys and several productive scouting trips had him convinced that there was gold in the high desert. He sold nearly everything he owned to finance his expedition and headed out on his own to find his fortune.

And find it he did. Each night he would weigh the nuggets and the amount of gold he discovered was staggering. He was rich beyond his wildest imagination.

Wilbur had planned well. He had enough resources to last for seven days and he had set aside enough water to make sure he could make it out of the high desert with his treasure.

Water and gold have one thing in common – they’re both heavy. Wilbur hadn’t counted on finding so much gold. He couldn’t carry all of the water and all of the gold. His greed blinded him and he made a very fateful decision. He chose to take all of the gold – and just enough water for four days. With a little luck, he was sure he could make it home.

He didn’t have any luck. Not long after Wilbur left camp, a fierce headwind began to impede his progress. It was relentless. Walking against it was nearly impossible and the arid air and dust literally pulled the moisture from his body. By the end of the second day, the water was gone and dehydration was already taking its toll. His lips were cracked wide open and the searing pain in his throat was unbearable. He began to hallucinate.

By late afternoon of the third day he was no longer able to walk. Through bleary and sun-scorched eyes he could see vultures circling over his head. He drifted in and out of consciousness.

Several sharp pains roused him, but he was so weak he couldn’t move. The vultures had landed and they were starting to feast.

Now let me ask you again, what has more value, gold or water?

Friends, the answer to this question is obvious: water is always far more valuable than gold – and wise is the person who disciplines themselves to keep that perspective.

In Matthew 13:44-46, Jesus uses two little parables to teach us about what has true value in this world:

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy he went and sold all he had and bought that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.”

These pithy parables drive home a very important truth: There is nothing of greater value in this world than your eternal soul gaining the eternal kingdom of heaven. Do you believe that? More importantly, will the decisions you make today reflect that truth? How many of us “Christians” claim to know what true value is, while making the same fateful mistake Wilbur made. Maintaining the perspective of true value requires great discipline.

Listen to Jesus’ words in Mark 8:34-38, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?”

So let me ask you, what has more value, the stuff of this world or your eternal soul?

Friends, the answer to this question is obvious: your eternal soul is always far more valuable than the stuff of this world – and wise is the person who disciplines themselves to keep that perspective.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21

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