Monday, August 12, 2013


How many times have I said that? “I’d give anything to be thinner … a better cook … a better writer …. You probably have your own list of things you’d like to be. But would we really give anything? Our comfortable but not-so-good habits? Our precious time? Our meaningless pursuits? Are we willing to give up anything, everything to live in God’s perfect love and peace? Jesus did. Paul did. We can, when we’re willing.



In Homer, Alaska, I sat on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean in mid-May, wrapped in three layers of clothing and a blanket. The flaps on my wool visor cap covered my ears against a biting wind.

Although I shivered with cold, it was one of those miserable times I wouldn't have traded for anything. Snow-capped mountains across the bay glittered in the early morning sunlight. Foamy whitecaps crashed on shore with the incoming tide. Sea otters floated placidly on the waves, their whiskered faces showing like little pups.

Most things in life involve trade-offs. Discomfort for beauty. Sacrifice for reward. Families sit on blankets swatting at hordes of mosquitoes while awaiting the July 4th fireworks display. Busy housewives rise at 4 a.m. to prepare a Thanksgiving feast for their loved ones. Couples buy bigger, nicer homes that cost more and require many more hours of upkeep. Men and women spend long hours at work to better provide for their families. Students sacrifice good times spent with friends in order to graduate college with honors. Gardeners sweat and groan from the work required to keep weeds down, all for the reward of tasty vegetables or beautiful blooms.

God offers a variety of trade-offs, too. We can trade our sorrows, disappointments, and worries for His incomparable peace. We can transfer our dependency on status, money, or family to the assurance of being God's child now and eternally. We can trade our sinful pursuits for the felt blessing of His presence. We can trade our treasures and pleasures for the joy of serving Him in a ministry of His choosing.

God’s trade-offs are the best, worthy of any sacrifice. Jesus, the Son of man, sacrificed everything so we could be reconciled to God. The apostle Paul gave up popularity, respect, and good standing in the church, to pursue Christ. He said, "I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish that I may gain Christ and be found in him…." (Philippians 3:8)

Lord, help us to know the things in our lives we need to exchange for Your blessings. Help us to remember that real riches and joy are in You alone. Our peace and contentment in You cannot be traded for anything better. Your incomparable love cannot be found in anyone or anything else. Thank You, Lord, for Your generous, loving gifts. In Jesus' name, amen.

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