Precious Souls

October 11, 2015Matthew 26:21- 28Precious Souls 

  What are the valuable and important things in life today?   I suppose there could be many things.   For many folks it is their family.  It can be a reputation or a business.  Money seems to be towards the top of the list for many folks.    Here is a yuppie (Young Upwardly Progressive Professional) prayer; now I lay me down to sleep, I pray my Cuisinart to keep.  I pray my stocks are on the rise and that my analyst is wise, that all the wine I sip is white and that my hot tub is water tight, that racket ball won’t get too tough, that all my sushi’s is fresh enough.  I pray that my cordless phone still works, that my career won’t lose its perks, my microwave won’t radiate my condo won’t depreciate.   I pray my health club doesn’t close and that my money market grows.  If I go broke before I wake, I pray my Volvo they won’t take. 

   Could he pray that prayer in Jesus name?  I suppose he could say the words.  What does it mean to pray in Jesus name?  A pastor can ask God to bless the church he serves in with people and pray that prayer in Jesus name.  If it is for God’s glory and to bring honor to Jesus that means one thing but it can also be prayed with the idea that will make the pastor look good.  What is really valuable and important in life?   Is it for the glory of God or is it all about me? 

    I remember reading or hearing about an old lady who brought out her valuable things and was showing them to her pastor.  He said nothing was very valuable as far as money was concerned.  There were some old jewelry, coins, and pins and this and that but it had very little value on the market if they were sold but to her they were important.  I guess we could ask ourselves today when push comes to shove what are the things that really matter to us.  I trust our real treasures is not money or the stock market or the bank account.   Sometimes the things that drive us are emotions and sometimes they are not the best. Sometimes there can be emotions that weigh heavily in our life. 

   Rick Garmon’s daughter, Katie, was date-raped in 2002 when she was age eighteen and a freshman in college. Too humiliated to speak about what had happened to anyone — even her family — Katie switched schools and attempted to move on with her life.  Over the next fourteen months, Katie withdrew from her family and friends. She developed an eating disorder and began losing weight.  Finally confronted by her mother, Katie confessed the truth.   A year of fervent prayer and therapy finally helped Katie to overcome the pain and return to a normal life.   Meantime, Katie’s father was battling the desire to avenge his daughter’s rape. He even developed a plan to kill the man who had so deeply wounded his daughter.  He, too, pulled away from everyone as he plotted how he’d drive through the college campus, sit in the parking lot with his rifle until the rapist walked by, and then shoot him. 

    One weekend when Katie was home, he retreated from her pain by going to the basement to clean his gun.  His son Thomas came downstairs and asked, “Whatcha doin’, Dad?   Can I help ya clean?   You goin’ huntin’?”  The father didn’t respond.  When he looked at Thomas, the boy’s eyes brimmed with tears.  He knows.   Dear God, I think my son knows my plan, the father thought.    “Come here, boy.  Give your daddy a hug,” Rick Garmon said.  When Thomas wrapped his arms around him, the father realized that the boy’s love was somehow stronger than his hatred.  “His hug began to crumble my rage like a sledgehammer breaking a wall,” the father said.  “Chip by chip.”   Locking the gun in the cabinet, Rick Garmon made a choice to forgive the man who had harmed his daughter.  — Based on Rick Garmon, “My Secret Hate,” Today’s Christian (May – June 2006).   Revenge can be a precious treasure for some people.   God is gracious to help us with those things in our life that are not good for us.  Thank the Holy Spirit for brining conviction to us.   Those things that are not good for us also tend to spill out on others.  Good can spread like wild fire and so can evil.  Last week we considered Hebrews 12 and putting off those things that hinder our walk with Jesus.

    There are precious things that we do not think much about.  The air we breathe is very precious and important.  Every breath we take has been breathed by millions of others over the years.  It is reusable.  There is sun light and water.  Sometimes there is too much water and then there is flooding but we can’t live without water. It is precious and important.    These are precious that God has blessed us with.  No human life without them.  Our health is very important for us and as we age it slips away. 

    The bible talks about a number of precious things.  The bible recognizes precious things of earth such as silver, gold, stones and other things.  It is interesting that in Revelation that it mentions precious gold, silver and wood in heaven.  The gold that we see in Revelation 21 is pure gold so pure that John says it is like glass.  It is like you can see through it.  But the bible speaks of things that are far more precious.  Psalms has a number of verses that uses the word precious.  The redemption of the soul is precious.   Precious in the Lord’s sight is the death of his saints.  There is precious seed and unity in the church among the brothers is precious and David says God’s thoughts towards me are precious. God thinks about us and David was comforted by that thought. 

    In Isaiah 28:16 so this is what the Sovereign Lord says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who relies on it will never be stricken with panic.  We know that the tried stone the precious corner stone is Jesus.  Proverbs 3:15 speaks about wisdom and says she is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her.  The bible states wisdom is more precious than rubies and wisdom is more important than anything else.  We see a very loving act in Matthew 26 where a woman come and pours very precious and expensive perfume on Jesus head.  In first and second Peter we see some precious things.  We see that faith is more precious than gold.  We are not redeemed by something that perishes but by the precious blood of Jesus.  The Christians life is precious to God.  Peter states that our faith is precious and the promises of God are precious.  God’s word is very precious.  It is worth loving, knowing and committing to memory. 

    I think the things that are precious to God are far different than many of the things that most people strive for.  I opened with the prayer of the yuppie.  People tend to fix ourselves and center our lives on the things seen and not the spiritual.  Man looks on the outward things and God looks on the heart.  Jesus frequently moved past the surface things to the deep things of the heart.   God did not seek revenge on man for our sin as the father did in the story above but sent his son to die for us.  God did not nurse a grudge and carry hate in His heart but because God is a loving God.   He made a way for us to come to him at a great cost to himself.   He sent his son to die because souls are precious to him.  

    In Isaiah 43:4 God expresses his love for his people.  But now, this is what the Lord says—he who created you, Jacob,
he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.    When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.   For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I give Egypt for your ransom, Cush and Seba in your stead.   Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give people in exchange for you, nations in exchange for your life. 

   Jesus expresses a great deal of value in this verse.  What shall it profit a man if he should gain the whole world and lose his own soul or what would a man give in exchange for his soul?   That is a tremendous expression of how precious each human being is.  I do not think we are precious because of who we are as much as the value that God places on us. I think the value of our body is just a couple of dollars unless someone swallowed some gold or something.   You are precious and your worth is expressed in the act of Jesus coming to die for you and me.  Souls are precious.  You are precious.  You are loved by God.  God thinks about you and that means you have value.  Yes we are broken people who sin and struggle,   we stumble and fall.  Because people are precious God sacrificed to save us to redeem us and to bring us to him. 

   What a great question Jesus asks here.  What would you have gained if you have the whole world but lose your soul?   What would you give in exchange for your soul?   Your soul is valuable. Your soul is more valuable than the whole world.   We do not tend to think about our soul very much.  Your soul is important.  Your soul has value.  We live in this world but there is a lot more than this world. 

   Out of all the things that God could choose he chose people.  Out of all the people; in the world God chose you and me because not everybody is going to walk with God.  It is amazing that we can know Him.   That is amazing grace.  That means you are precious.  You are important and what you do with your life has a great deal of meaning.  Your life can be used to bring others into a relationship with God.  All of us can pray and God can and will bless your prayers.  I saw a tract on the table this week and picked it up and prayed Lord help me to give this to someone that you want to see it today.  I tell you it was easy as pie and it was gone in 2 hours.  I handed it to a clerk in the store after a warm up chat.  Sometimes I put my name and phone number on the tract so if they want to talk later they can contact me. 

   Please continue the process of making the things that God says are important your priorities?   Yes your family is very important and your walk with God is very important.  We do not want to be like Esau who sold his birth right for a bowl of soup.  If we do not walk in the Holy Spirit we can miss the things that are important and Esau missed it.  Later when he realized his mistake he cried probably did not repent but what a tragic mistake.