When I was a kid, I loved trading baseball cards, but I had no concept of what cards were worth, so I kept it simple: I’d trade anything I owned for the shiniest baseball card available. My older siblings knew this, and they’d pass off a card with a holograph, or tinsel, or glitter while they maneuvered for more valuable cards. They fooled me and I bought it. Every. Single. Time. Why? Because I mistook shiny-ness for value.
One of the most valuable baseball cards of all time- a guy by the name of Honus Wagner- is also one of the plainest. Against an ugly orange background, Honus sits with his protruding nose, hair slicked down the middle, and a Pittsburgh jersey tightly buttoned up his neck. Honus is not much to look at, but his card once sold for $2 million dollars. And you can bet if I’d held that card as a kid, I would’ve given it away for something with a little more bling.
A rich man came to Jesus once and said, “How do I get eternal life? I’ve kept the Ten Commandments, what else can I do?” Jesus answered, “Sell everything you’ve got, give the money to the poor, and follow me.” The man turned and sadly walked away because he couldn’t part with his wealth. Jesus let him go, because Jesus always lets us choose, but that guy chose really really poorly. He chose a shiny ten cent baseball card over $2 mil.
Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.” This man sold everything he owned, yet we don’t feel sorry for him because his treasure more than made up for it. If I found a Honus Wagner card today for $10,000 at a garage sale, I’d sell my car, and drain my savings, because in the end, my “loss” would be barely noticeable.
I think this is how it works with sin. Satan is a con-artist- a flash-bang vendor who deals in deceit. He’ll dangle shiny-ness in front of us, and rob of us of anything of real value and we fall for it all the time. Any day I choose the world over Jesus, I’ve just bought junk from a snake-oil salesman.
The only way to stop collecting trash is to believe Jesus is so valuable, so worth it, that no cost is too great to follow Him. So how about it? Do we believe the Kingdom of Heaven is worth everything we’ve got? Will we ditch the glittery baseball cards and go all in for the One who’s worth it?