Summary: We always win when we trade with God.
TRADING WITH GOD
One of the delights of my life is trading! It's not that I don't like what I have, it's that I want what YOU have, so I'll offer you a trade. Now, one thing you must realize, of course, is that I probably think that what you have is worth more than what I have ... or, I may have a completely different thought process. What YOU have may not be worth as much as what I have, but I may NEED what you have more than I need what I have! Are you confused, yet?
OKAY, here's an example. A few years ago, I had a man call me about a house that I owned, down in Rocky Mount, Virginia. He wanted to buy it. We met at a local eatery and bargained and haggled for a couple of hours, and the result was that he bought my house, at a much less price than he thought it was worth. I thought the house was worth more than what he was paying, also, but, still, I wanted the trade. I wanted to trade my house for his money. He later bragged to all his friends and buddies in the real estate world how he had skinned Manning out of $5,000! And, quite frankly, he was right, but oh! How Manning enjoyed that skinning! What he did NOT know was that just that day, I had signed a contract for FOUR houses here in Bluefield, and I needed HIS MONEY to make the down payment on them. I knew that with the four houses, I would make FAR more than I could have ever hoped to make with just the one. And, the result was that my assessment was accurate. I did get the four houses, repaired them, and sold them over time, and in actuality cleared about eight times what I lost on the original house that I sold.
I like to trade! And, I like to win, when I do trade! And I just LOVE trading with God. Know why? I ALWAYS WIN! I always get far more than I give. And it's really no secret ... YOU DO, TOO! This morning, let's look at some of the trades we make with God. You know what trading is ... you give something .... you get something in return, right? OK.... let's look at what God gives us ... and what we give Him!
Look at part of the prayer of Moses and Aaron, in Numbers 16:22 .... "God gives breath to all living things!" What does breath do? It provides life, of course. One of the ways we know someone has died is that they stop breathing. What a great gift God has given! What a marvelous opportunity we have, to enjoy life! And I do enjoy it! I truly do. I look forward, with eager anticipation, to coming to Church on Sundays to meet with you! I count you as dear friends, and I just thoroughly like the opportunities I have to worship with you! What a valuable gift from God!
OK .. now.... what what do we have to give to God, to make this trade an equal one? I don't know, either, my friends. One of the things we might could give is our whole and entire lives in Kingdom work and activity, but I don't think even that would be an equal trade. So, some of us do give part of our lives to God. We might give 2 or 3 hours on Sunday, another hour or so on Wednesday evenings, perhaps a couple of hours at various board meetings during the month. We may spend an hour a month visiting a shut in, or someone in the hospital, or taking care of the physical needs around the Church, like cleaning, or repairing or sprucing up a bit. We may spend time preparing sermons or Sunday School lessons, or other types of presentations. We may even have the daring audacity and unmitigated gall to read the Scriptures a bit from time to time, and pray a few minutes here and there. But don't you see? We win! We get the best part of the deal! We come out ahead!
I like Deuteronomy 8:18: There, the word says, REMEMBER THE LORD YOUR GOD, FOR IT IS HE WHO GIVES YOU THE ABILITY TO PRODUCE WEALTH! Aw, and you were thinking that you work so hard for your daily bread, weren't you. I'm frequently reminded of a scene from a movie from the mid 1960's .. you have probably seen it... SHENANDOAH, starring Jimmy Stewart. He is a crusty old farmer, who has a very religious wife, and he, in order to placate her, offers prayers at meal times. His prayer goes something like this: O God, the food is here because of our work. We plowed the soil, planted the seed, weeded the ground, and gathered it in. We cleaned it, cooked it, and set it on the table. We did it all, but for the wife's sake, we thank Your for it. Amen.