Your Choice: Gumball-Machine Happiness or Lasting Joy?

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bubble gum ringIf you give a young child the option between a 25¢ gumball-machine ring and a real diamond, it’s easy to imagine that she might be tempted by first option. I’ve witnessed many a young girl ooh and ahh over a large pink plastic ring and feel treacherously betrayed when another friend puts it on her finger. It’s bigger, shinier, and colorful. Who wouldn’t make the same choice?

Give any adult woman the same choice and by and large she will choose the real diamond. What makes the difference? Maturity. Over the course of her lifetime she has grown in her understanding of value, as well as her appreciation of beauty.

I fear that when it comes to the treasure found in Christ, I may often show the immaturity of a two year old. Some days I find myself oohing and aahing over the world’s trinkets, wondering if perhaps God loves someone else a bit more because they seem to enjoy a bigger piece of the proverbial pie. It’s not only possessions, but also the relationships, giftedness, ministry endeavors, awards, and experiences of others that can appear bigger, shinier, and more colorful.

When I become fixated on earthly trinkets, I miss the real treasure. And, by doing so, I exchange gumball-machine happiness for lasting joy.

Reading Ephesians 1:3-14, reminds me of the abundance given to us who believe. Paul praises the Lord for the vastness of spiritual blessings we have received:

Chosen
Beloved
Adopted
Holy
Blameless
Redeemed
Forgiven
Lavished with grace
Sealed with the Holy Spirit

Every day, all over the world, people die without hearing the good news of the Gospel. In contrast, He has sought us, saved us, cleaned us, and sealed us. Whatever deprivations we may face, come trials or tribulations, we can always declare, “I am rich – I’ve been adopted by the King!” Savoring all we’ve been given by adoption into the family of Christ causes the things of this world to appear as trinkets in light of true treasure.

Reflecting upon these spiritual blessings, causes me to question: What am I chasing after today? Where am I spending my time, my energy, my money, my life? A bubble gum machine ring soon finds its way to the bottom of a toy box, forgotten and discarded. So, will it be with many of the very things we find ourselves spending our time, energy, and money seeking.

It’s easy to become consumed with trinkets and miss the treasure. Today is a good day to remember and rejoice in our redemption. As Richard Baxter wisely noted:

O that Christians would learn to live with one eye on Christ crucified and the other on his coming in glory! If everlasting joys were more in your thoughts, spiritual joys would abound more in your hearts. No wonder you are comfortless when heaven is forgotten. When Christians let fall their heavenly expectations but heighten their earthly desires, they are preparing themselves for fear and trouble. Who has met with a distressed, complaining soul where either a low expectation of heavenly blessings, or too high a hope for joy on earth is not present? What keeps us under trouble is either we do not expect what God has promised, or we expect what he did not promise.

A woman who receives an engagement ring delights at the value of the ring, as well as the hope it represents. She stares at it with wonder, and joy fills her heart. Beholding the cross, we find our ultimate value and eternal hope. May we set our gaze upon Jesus, knowing that we’ve been chosen, we’re beloved, and we’re on our way home.

 

 

 

 

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