We all love a bargain! Whenever we come across the item marked down to 90% of its original price - don't we squeal with delight? Oh come on...if you don't do it outwardly, you are dancing on the inside!!! Bargains are awesome. The problem is - some "bargains" are merely "made up" to appear as bargains!
17-18 Don't for a minute envy careless rebels; soak yourself in the Fear-of-God — that's where your future lies. Then you won't be left with an armload of nothing. (Proverbs 23:17-18 The Message)
A "bargain" which is really not a "bargain" is like loading ourselves up with "armloads of nothing". We find we have been "sucked into" the frenzy of believing the "false claims" of the things we loaded ourselves down with. Don't miss it - we load ourselves up with all kinds of supposedly "good things" in our lives - but we do it without truly thinking (in a frenzy).
We have a natural "bent" of comparing ourselves to others. We see another walk past us and in an instant, our minds go into the "processing mode" of analyzing how they are dressed, how their hair style fits their "look", and maybe even evaluating their other physical attributes (such as fat/skinny, tall/short, blemishes/perfect skin). In one quick glance, we form all kinds of opinions. It is like we have one of those infrared scanner devices in our mind's eye, passing each "subject" of our view over it, registering the "coded" information we store in our brains, and then coming to a conclusion just as quickly.
The danger lies in the immediacy of how quickly we jump from our own place of contentment to envying others who "pass our scanners" with the "appearance" of having it all together! You know, if you have ever seen me on a Sunday morning, you might even have come to this very conclusion about me! The conclusion which says, "There goes someone who has it all together." Ummm...I hate to burst your impression of me, but I do NOT have it all together. I struggle with judging others, involving myself in conversations which would be better off not said, and being careless in so many choices, just to name a few!
None of us is above envying the carelessness of those who seem to have life by the horns - living by their own might. We just naturally jump to the conclusion they must "have it all together". The cold reality is those very individuals we envy are probably struggling terribly just beneath the surface! One who is without Christ is without hope. Although they may possess every physical attribute man considers worth having, they lack the one which assures them lasting peace, unending joy, and constantly renewed faith in hard times.
Soak yourself in God - wise words indeed. Why? Simply stated - one without Christ has no real hope for the future. Theirs is a life of "today" without any real sense of what tomorrow will bring. One who rightly pursues Christ as the center of their life will not always what circumstances tomorrow will bring, but they will know who holds them close as they venture into each new day.
I wonder how many times we senselessly pursue armloads of nothing. If our arms are so packed with "nothing", when Jesus offers us "something", we have little room to accept his greater gift. It is only as we lay down the armloads of nothing that we are able to embrace the things of greatest worth which Christ desires to bestow upon us. It is not in how "full" our arms are that we "judge" the greatness of an individual - it is the "load" those arms carry! Christ told us his "load" was light, unlike the armloads we amass in our frenzy of envy!
One more thought - the armloads the careless rebels amass are acquired in haste. The armloads of blessing God gives are acquired in moments of stillness. Sometimes the greatest "load" we carry is the peace of having "offloaded" a burden we were never meant to carry in the first place!