Handing out candy to the little ones this Halloween reminded me of an activity with my childhood friends after collecting our loot. We would gather together on one unlucky parent’s living room floor and dump all of our candy into our separate piles. We would then begin trading for what we preferred: I’ll trade my Jaw Breakers for your Milk Duds. How ‘bout my Sweet Tarts for your Dum Dum Pops? It created a rather chaotic scene as each of us attempted to obtain something better for ourselves than we were given.
This memory got me thinking about the trades mentioned in the Bible and how they worked out. Some in the Bible acted on their carnal desires and depended on their own faulty judgment to determine their trade:
Esau traded his inheritance for a meal.
The Israelites traded a relationship with the true and living God for a golden calf.
Judas traded the opportunity for friendship with Jesus for 30 pieces of silver.
In each case, their choice was disastrous, for at the heart of their choice was their own comfort, their own glory. They traded something supremely valuable for something worthless. How misleading our own judgment and desires can be!
But others in the Bible trusted in God’s wisdom and will for their lives and traded what they had for His glory, resulting in blessings from God:
Noah traded his own reasonable thinking (build an ark in the desert?) and received his family’s - and mankind’s - survival.
Paul traded his social status and comfortable lifestyle to face beatings, shipwreck and jail to communicate the Gospel, resulting in bringing multitudes to faith.
And God’s own Son put aside His divine authority, surrendered His human will, and laid down His very life so that we would have an eternal relationship with the God who created us.
So, what am I willing to trade, to surrender in response to what Jesus gave for me?
My envy for His contentment?
My resentment for His peace?
My wounded heart for His healing?
My sins for His forgiveness?
My dreams for His will?
My “rights” for His righteousness?
My ashes for His crown of beauty?
My mourning for His Joy?
My spirit of despair for His garments of praise? (Isaiah 61:3)
As the worship song goes:
I’m trading my sorrows… my shame … my sickness… my pain
I’m laying them down for the joy of the Lord.
Jesus made the ultimate trade … for US. We can’t lose when we surrender ourselves to HIM.
- Kathi Fritz