Are you sure you know what you're getting?
I was driving down our street one scorching day and saw a familiar-looking makeshift stand being manned by an ambitious looking 8-year old. "25 CENTS" read the colorful sign taped to the table.
I pulled over, handed over my shiny quarter, and the happy young lady handed me a cup of the cold stuff.
Notice I didn't actually say it was lemonade. But then again, neither did she. I just assumed it would be.
And I assumed incorrectly.
I got back into my car and took a sip. Let's just say it wasn't quite as *lemony* as I was expecting. It tasted like, well, nothing.
That's because it was water. Just good old, run of the mill tap water that had been chilled in a glass pitcher.
3 ounces of water in exchange for my 25 cents. Not exactly what I was expecting. I mean, no, the girl hadn't ever told me I would be getting lemonade. It wasn't like the sign said that's what was for sale. I just made some very wrong assumptions about what I was going to get out of this exchange.
At that point I chalked it up to making a little girl's day by stopping by her cool (albeit kind of misleading) "water stand." That was certainly worth a quarter.
But I feel like there have been other times in my life when I have made some pretty stupid exchanges because of what I thought I would get out of the deal. I think we've all made trades or even allowed lines to blur because of what we believed we would gain from the exchange.
It's why so many high school girls give themselves away in exchange for the love they hope they'll gain. They allow lines to blur because they believe it will cement the relationship. Of course, anyone who has actually walked this road knows that more often than not, it leads to the disintegration of the relationship. And the girl is left holding a cup of loneliness and rejection.
It's why so many married men and women let their eyes wander over to what isn't theirs. They believe there is something else, something more, something better than what exists at home. But when their feet begin to walk where their eyes have first gone, they're eventually left holding a cup full of the devastation of their homes and families. I doubt anyone would make that exchange if they could first get a glimpse of what they would actually get in the trade.
As surely as I believe there is a God who loves us, I believe there is one whose sole intent is to deceive us--to get us to make these trades by having us believe we'll get something worth it in exchange for the cost we will pay.
And it's nothing new. Esau literally traded his birthright as the firstborn son FOR A BOWL OF SOUP. And while I can think that's a pretty stupid trade, he's not alone in his foolishness. You and I can be pretty motivated by our own thirsts and hungers. But when we bow to them, we often end up with little more than an empty bowl, or a cup of disappointment.
Father, help us! The exchanges we are willing to make are just plain foolish sometimes. Protect us when we are tempted to trade valuable things for what we think we will gain. Flood our minds with wisdom and insight, and make us wise as serpents and innocent as doves. In Your Son's name, Amen.
Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.