A monetary metaphor
My son just fell downstairs. He was at the top with his hands full when he slipped and rolled to the bottom. I heard the heavy thuds as he dropped and made it to the bottom of the stairs pretty much as he did. He was, naturally, shocked and upset, but mercifully unhurt, as far as we can tell. A few cuddles and an eventual biscuit dried his tears, and he recovered his equanimity (and the cuddly toy that had made the descent with him). We checked Knuckles (the dog) for bumps, bruises and breaks, and fed him a little biscuit, and found that he was also OK.
It was at this point that I wondered why he was struggling to use his right hand. Had he, after all, injured himself? No, one of the reasons why he had fallen was because he was clutching a few copper coins: he could not grab the bar that he usually holds on to properly. But notice, he made it all the way to the bottom, and through the recovery, without once relinquishing his grip on that which, had he only held it more lightly, might have prevent him falling in the first place. He was holding it through his descent, and kept his grip upon it to the very end.
“For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mk 8:36-37).
Many men fall with their hands full, and suffer far worse than a few bruises and tears. There is a fall from which no man recovers, and many descend because they are grasping after the things of this life. When they reach the bottom, that which they held on to so fiercely is found to be worth nothing at all. In the final analysis, and counted in the light of eternity, untold millions would be no more than a few coppers if for the sake of holding them we fall, descend and eventually land in hell. There is a time to let go of the stuff of this life, and get hold of Jesus Christ.
For more counsel on the use of money, Gary Brady posts an excellent review of John Wesley’s attitude to and employment of his wealth.