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A Pound Of The Eternal

David E. Parks

One of the most compelling quotes I have ever read comes from a book by Charles Swindoll, Improving Your Serve: The Art of Unselfish Living. Out of the hundreds of books that I have read over the decades, I know of no quote that has as frequently returned to my memory to challenge my thoughts and deeds, than the following quote that Swindoll Credits to Wilbur Rees.

"I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please, not enough to explode my soul or disturb my sleep, but just enough to equal a cup of warm milk or a snooze in the sunshine. I don't want enough of Him to make me love a black man or pick beets with immigrant. I want ecstasy not transformation; I want the warmth of the womb, not a new birth. I want about a pound of the eternal in a paper sack. I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please."

What a challenging statement! It reminds me of an adage frequently set forth by the late Batsell Barrett Baxter. He often warned his young students, "Many Christians have just enough religion to be miserable."

Far too many people have missed the joy of Christianity because they have settled for, "a pound of the eternal in a paper sack." In their efforts to settle for "$3 worth of God" they have been disappointed to discover that halfhearted service to God brings not "the warmth of the womb" but "just enough religion to be miserable."

It was never God's purpose to establish a masochistic religion of misery. Jesus said, "I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly" (John 10:10). Most Bible scholars agree Jesus here spoke of both spiritual and temporal life.

The reason we challenge people to put Christ first in their lives (mat. 6:33) is because we want people to share in all that our Lord has prepared for them now and in eternity.

Why should we put God first? He is God (John 1:1-3). He is the judge (Acts 17:30-31). He gave his life for us (Rom. 5:6-9). He supplies all our needs (Phil. 4:19). And, he has prepared a place for us (John 14:1-3). Even if there was no Hell (and there is) no one should pass up an opportunity to "seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness."

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