Monday, August 26, 2019

For Sale

Proverbs 23 offers a bit of confusing, but profound, advice: buy, but do not sell, truth, wisdom, instruction, and understanding. On the surface, it seems simple and reasonable - get as much of these things as you can, no matter what the cost, and hold onto them; do not get rid of them for any reason. Do not put them out for a garage sale or try to make money off of them. 

This part seems straightforward to most of us. If you can acquire these things, they will change the way you live your life. They will enable you to live the life of faith that you desire to live. They will draw you closer to God. Who would ever want to sell them? 

We see this in Jesus's story of the man who found a treasure buried in a field. He hid it again, then went and sold everything he had in order to buy the field and obtain the treasure. It makes you wonder what he did with his field after he got the treasure out of it. Did he hold onto the field? To the treasure? Did he sell either? If he sold them, what did he do with the profits? There are so many more questions about this story that are not answered than are, but the principle is: do whatever it takes at whatever cost to acquire a treasure worth living off of. In this case, we know that the greatest treasure is these things: truth, wisdom, instruction, and understanding. 

There's yet another story in the New Testament that sheds light on this, from a couple of directions. It is the story of Simon in the book of Acts. Simon was a magician; he was a master of deception and sleight of hand. And he saw the power that the disciples-turned-apostles had to heal and to cast out demons, and he wanted this power for himself. He was prepared to pay whatever price the apostles set for it, following the advice of Proverbs (knowingly or unknowingly).

But the apostles weren't selling. They knew there wasn't a price that you could put on that kind of power that wouldn't cheapen it. And that's the thing, that's why you can't sell this kind of stuff. Any price you try to put on it cheapens it. It simply can't be bought and sold. 

Which is why this proverb is a bit confusing. It directly orders us to buy, but not to sell...but in order for us to buy, someone must be selling. Otherwise, there'd be nothing for us to buy. So the question is, who's selling? 

And the answer is, simply, Jesus. 

He bought these things at the highest price, the price of His very life and His blood poured out at the Cross. And He sells it at the same - the price of your own life, everything you've got, blood and sweat and tears and Spirit. 

It's a price we must be willing to pay. The instruction of the wise one is clear: buy this stuff. Buy it at whatever price it's set. Do whatever it takes to get it. For even if it costs you your life, it is life. Go get it.

And never let it go.

No comments:

Post a Comment