The Remembrance of Heroism Through Sacrifice
- May 24, 2023
The Dead Sea is located on the boundary between Israel and Jordan. Its northern shore is about 16 miles east of Jerusalem and 104 miles south of the Sea of Galilee. The Jordan river flows from the Sea of Galilee into the Dead Sea. The Bible most often mentions the Dead Sea as the eastern
The Dead Sea is located on the boundary between Israel and Jordan. Its northern shore is about 16 miles east of Jerusalem and 104 miles south of the Sea of Galilee. The Jordan river flows from the Sea of Galilee into the Dead Sea.
The Bible most often mentions the Dead Sea as the eastern boundary of the Promised Land. It is also called the Salt Sea, the Sea of Arabah, and the Eastern Sea. Ezekiel 47 provides a rather astonishing prophecy of the Dead Sea one day teeming with life.
The surface of the Dead Sea is 1,388 feet below sea level, making it the lowest place on planet earth. The fresh water of the Jordan river flows into the Dead Sea but then has nowhere to go. Its only outlet is evaporation.
If you’ve ever made maple syrup, you know the longer you boil the sap, the more concentrated it becomes. For the Dead Sea, the result of thousands of years of evaporation is a toxic concentration of minerals and salt that cannot support life. Its salt content is ten times greater than that of ocean water. No marine life can be found in it, and its salt is so heavily tainted with bromide that it is inedible unless the toxin is removed.
The sea is about 50 miles long and 11 miles wide, and its deepest point is 997 feet. Today, its surface area is about 234 square miles, but in 1930 it covered 410 square miles. It is receding so quickly that efforts are being undertaken to stabilize its water level. Not only is it toxic, but the Dead Sea is also dying. Toxicity and death: that’s what happens when you’re at a dead end.
Jesus said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34. He also said, “Freely you have received; freely give.” Matthew 10:8.
The Dead Sea is an apt illustration of what happens when God’s love flows into us but doesn’t flow out of us to others. We were not created to be love’s dead end. Instead, God designed us to be free-flowing, constantly carrying the love we have received to others. That constant flow is what keeps us fresh and full of life. When love doesn’t flow out of us, we become toxic, devoid of life, and dying. According to Dickens, that was Ebenezer Scrooge’s problem.
The flow is what keeps us alive. The same is true with blessings. God doesn’t bless us with more so we can keep more; He blesses us with more so we can give more.
When we hoard the love and blessings God has given to us, we become a dead-end dead sea. Jesus warned us about hoarding when he taught the Parable of the Barns in Luke 12:13-21. He introduces the parable by saying, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”
What about you? Do love and blessings flow through you to others, or are you a toxic and dying dead end?
Greed is the problem — and it is most often caused by:
Fear: Some people are greedy because they fear the future. They constantly worry, asking themselves, “What if I don’t have enough?” If that’s you, read Matthew 6 and the Parable of the Barns. Jesus wants you to stop worrying about your future on earth. Our time here is so very short. Why are you putting your hope in things that rot and rust? Instead of worrying and hoarding, He encourages us to store up our treasures in heaven — where we will enjoy them forever.
Comparing: Some people are stingy because they want to appear more successful than others. They think success is proven by how much they own. They couldn’t be more wrong. True success is not found in what we keep but in what we give away. Consider this: everything you keep must be secured, protected, and maintained. Gathering and keeping stuff causes a lot of work and worry, while generosity produces joy and freedom. Is trying to prove your value really worth all that stress and bondage?
Power: Some people are greedy because they want to take power for themselves. Power selfishly taken always produces a toxic culture of bondage and misery. True power cannot be taken; it must be given by others. When rightly given and utilized selflessly, power has the ability to produce a healthy culture of freedom and purpose for all. Is taking power really worth having everyone in your life despise you?
Ask yourself, am I a dead-end dead sea? Am I imprisoned to fear? Am I constantly seeking to prove my value to myself or others? Am I selfishly seeking power? Am I a scrooge?
Your answers to these questions may explain why your life is filled with stress and worry and why your existence is lonely and toxic.
Like Scrooge on Christmas day, your life can change immediately — and a generous and joyous heart can quickly overcome greed and bitterness! Let God’s love and blessings flow through you to others, and you will finally be set free. Selfless generosity is the cure for a dead-end dead sea existence.