Riches Down The Drain

For a moment, many of us dreamed of being plumbers in Germany. The dream was sparked by a story carried by Reuters on April 20, 2006. The name of the individual who prompted the story was not given — with good reason.
The 64-year-old man is retired and lives on a pension, the story reported. His living conditions are described as “spartan.” He must have decided it was time for a little spring cleaning, and he had to decide what to do with a bundle of deutschemarks. This currency was once Germany’s official money until the Euro replaced it in 2002. The man concluded that the bills were now worthless and began flushing them down his toilet.
Plumbers had to be called in when the bills clogged the drain lines. It was then that the man learned that deutschemarks could still be exchanged for Euros. How much had he flushed? Authorities estimated he had disposed of about $37,000 (in American dollars). More than half of the money was recovered and deposited in the man’s bank account.
It’s not the first time we’ve heard of someone trashing something valuable that they thought was worthless. It happens all the time in the spiritual realm.
A man named Esau once gave away something valuable. His younger twin brother, Jacob, was cooking a stew. Esau had just returned from a hunting expedition and was hungry. When he asked for a bowl of his brother’s stew, Jacob demanded Esau’s birthright in exchange. Esau should have regarded his birthright as nonnegotiable, but he didn’t. Instead he replied: “Look, I am about to die; so what is this birthright to me?” (Genesis 25:32, NKJV) It’s highly doubtful that Esau was really on the verge of death. It seems more likely that his stomach was a higher priority than his future blessings.
The writer of the epistle to the Hebrews looked back on this episode as an object lesson for all time: “Looking carefully … lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright” (Hebrews 12:15,16). What Esau did was more than just buy a bowl of stew. He regarded his spiritual legacy as something of low value. That made him “profane” (“godless”, NIV).
What have we sold for temporary pleasure? Have we exchanged our purity for a few moments of sexual excitement? Our integrity for a few dollars that should have been paid in taxes? Our reputation for the satisfaction of giving someone a piece of our mind? Have we flushed rich spiritual gifts down the toilet in giving priority to the impulses of the flesh?
Can those treasures ever be recovered? By God’s grace and with his help, they can!

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