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Devotional

Trading Up

In the thirteenth chapter of the book of Matthew, Jesus shares a one-line parable about a man who finds a piece of real estate that he just can't turn down. Somehow the man discovers a field with a valuable treasure hidden inside. Recognizing the value, the man hides the treasure again, goes home, sells everything he owns and returns to purchase the field. The treasure was worth far more than everything the man owned, so he was willing to give up everything to possess it.

Jesus follows up that story with another about a merchant who bought and sold pearls. One day he came across a pearl so perfect that he had to own it, so he traded everything he had to do so.

Those two parables were just stories that Jesus used to illustrate his teaching, but there was also an actual young man who came to Jesus asking, "What must I do to be saved?" He was not ready for Jesus' answer.

"Sell everything you have. Give the money to the poor, and then come follow me."

The man walked away sad because he was wealthy. Giving up everything you own is painful. Jesus doesn't require us to give up our material goods in order to become his disciples, but he does ask us to consider the cost of following him.

If you decide to become a Christ follower, life will change. You will give up some things, some people, some habits and some time. The people who successfully make the leap are like those men in Jesus' parable -- those who recognize the value in the trade and are willing to give up everything to obtain it.

Jim Elliot, a famous missionary to Ecuador in the 1950s, said, "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." God is offering to adopt you as his child, pardon every sin you’ll ever commit and allow you to live forever in paradise. No matter what you have to give up --- that’s a good deal.

Prayer

God, I realize that following you may end up costing me some temporary pleasures. Help me understand how much I stand to gain by trusting you with my life.