Is The Prize Worth The Price ?
Remember The County Fair
I sat recently at my desk, kind of looking out of the open window in front of me at the bright sunshine with my physical eyes, yet more looking inside of my spiritual self. I began to see and thank God for being so good to me. I thanked God for how far He had brought me, and how He had taught me to stand on and trust His word. I thanked God for bringing me into right standing and right relationship with Him. I thanked God for deeming me worthy to speak in His name, and allowing me to speak His Holy word to His people.
Yet, my mind went back to the old man. To the person I was before God saved me and redeemed my life. To that evil, wicked, and self-centered person who was only concerned with the pleasures of the moment.
And as I reflected, I was reminded of the price I had paid for all of my foolishness, and all of the pain and grief I had caused, not only to myself, but to others as well. I was reminded about how I had sold myself to do so much evil, and the prize I had reaped in the process. It was then that I heard a voice speaking to my spirit saying, " Remember The County Fair."
Growing up, every year around Mid-October, the county fair would roll into our little town with all of it's splendor and glory. There would be billboards and advertisements announcing it's arrival. The fair would come and set up on the parking lot of the football stadium, and remain in our town for two full weeks. Everyone would be excited to have the fair in our town, and people would come from miles around to spend an evening at the fair.
There were rides for people of all ages, there were the swings, cup and saucer, and merry-go-rounds for the young children. Then there were the thrill rides for the teens and grown-ups. Who could resist the Farris Wheel reaching to the stars, the Roller Coaters, The Bumper Cars, and The Scary Houses, just to name a few.
As young teens, we would stand in long lines and eagerly await our turn on those rides, while hearing the screams of joy, fear, and sheer excitement from those who were having their turn.
In my Senior year of high school the fair came, and I took my girlfriend on a date to the fair. It was on a Saturday evening, and I had played in a football game the night before. I was still pretty sore and beat up, so I wasn't much for getting on the thrill rides. Instead we enjoyed a few of the milder rides, and then walked along the boardwalk. The boardwalk had many little booths selling hot dogs, burgers, pizza slices, and many other treats, and the smell of cotton candy filled the air. There were also games of challenge on the boardwalk, and as we walked by one of the booths, the vendor challenged me to win a prize for my date.
I took the challenge, knowing that I could sink a few balls into the basket and win a little stuffed animal for her. But it wasn't a little stuffed animal that she had her eyes set on, it was one of those big over-stuffed bears kept way up on a shelf in the back of the booth. I figured, since that's the one she wants, I'll win it for her.
I began to shoot baskets, and every time I would make three in a row, the vendor would give her a little prize. Each time I would win a prize, the vendor would allow me to trade in my small prize to continue trying to win the big bear. I was winning some and losing some, but I kept shooting. After I don't know how long, I had worked my way up to the back shelf, and finally I shot three more baskets in a row and won the big bear. I was brought back to reality when the crowd that had gathered around, unbeknownst to me, began to shout and applaud, as my date took possession of that big bear.
When the evening was done, and I had taken my date home, I decided to stop on the way to my house and put gas in the car so that I wouldn't have to stop on my way to church the next morning. It was then that I realized I had spent all of my money to win that prize, and I only had a few dollars left. I know that my date was happy with that big bear, but now I was broke, down to just a few dollars, and I asked myself, " Is The Prize Worth The Price ?"
Now Is A Time To Give Account Of Yourself
How many of us really consider the price we pay for the prize we receive, until in many cases, it is too late?
Is the prize of owning a luxury car worth the price that we pay, considering that we sometimes have to cut corners somewhere else, maybe even on the necessities of life, in order to keep it?
Is the prize of wearing designer clothes worth the price that we pay, to have our egos stroked by those who really don't give a crap about us anyway?
Is the prize of eternal damnation, separated from God, worth the price we pay to enjoy life's temporary pleasures and fleeting fulfillment?
At what point do we become serious with ourselves, and begin to run for the prize that doesn't fade, tarnish, rust, or corrode?
At what point do we consider our eternal being, rather than gratifying the lusts of our flesh man?
My mother used to say, " If You Dance To The Music, You Have To Pay To The Piper."
Take at look into your own life, look at what you've gained, and weigh that by what you're about to lose, then ask yourself, " Is The Prize Worth The Price?"
Seek the Prize of Eternal Salvation, remembering, "Jesus Paid The Price."
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