All Satan's Apples Have Worms
Michael J. Brooks
We've just come through the Christmas season after which many of us made exchanges. We took something back that didn't fit, or something back that didn't work, and got a replacement. Jesus talked about an exchange in Matthew 16:26: "For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?"
The soul is the part of us that communes with God. Humankind is unlike the plant and animal kingdoms since our Creator invites us to fellowship with him. And according to Jesus, it's never been beneficial to exchange our soul for something less.
Our first parents did in Eden. Adam and Eve listened to the voice of the serpent who promised they could be their own gods. However, they were banished from paradise and the presence of the Lord.
The prophet Jeremiah warned King Zedekiah of Judah that God would use Babylon to punish him. The king made an alliance with Egypt to save himself, but Egypt fell. Zedekiah then turned to the idols of Canaan and erected false images in his palace. But he didn't turn to God. The king lost his throne, his sons and his freedom.
Jesus met a young man and loved him, as he still loves all young people whose lives are filled with promise. He told the young man to sell his possessions and follow Jesus. But the young man loved money more than he valued his soul.
It's foolish to trade anything in exchange for one's soul because nothing we get in exchange is ultimately worth it. Of what value is a little money, prestige or power if we're living beneath the privilege of knowing, loving and serving God?
A fable tells of a lark whose beautiful song filled the forest, but who was hated for this attention by a crafty rat. The rat hatched a plot to destroy the lark. He came and praised the bird's music, telling him it was such a shame that he had to search for food instead of singing all day. Then the rat offered to provide food for the lark.
"How much will it cost?" asked the lark.
"One worm for one feather," the rat replied.
At the end of the day the lark was so full of worms that he couldn't sing, and had no feathers left to fly away. The crafty rat destroyed him.
An evangelist of another generation, John R. Rice, used to preach a sermon entitled, "All Satan's Apples Have Worms." And so it remains a great tragedy when people choose things of lesser importance over the opportunity to commune with God.