Equal or Lesser Value

Our theme this week is “replacing our misplaced hopes with hope in Christ.”

There is a thrilling moment at the beginning of the famous movie Raiders of the Lost Ark. No, I’m not talking about the thrill of witnessing rudimentary, dust-caked mechanical traps and levers successfully spring into action after lying dormant for decades when most of us struggle to start our lawnmowers the first time every spring. I am talking about the moment when Indiana Jones carefully replaces a valuable golden statue with a bag of sand so as not to spring one of those traps (or so he thought).

It stands to reason that he used something like a bag of sand as a replacement instead of, say, a bag of diamonds. A thief (or wise-cracking research archaeologist) would only bother to replace an artifact, if necessary, and for sure the replacement would be of lesser value.

“Equal or lesser value” is a common phrase to us. Buy one get one free? Sure…of equal or lesser value. Ordering a meal and want to substitute a side dish? Sure…of equal or lesser value. One can swap French fries for French-cut green beans but you can’t swap them for escargot (not that I grasp why one would).

Equal or lesser. That’s how replacements work, right? Well, one replacement was worth a lot more. Infinitely more:

For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.
(John 3:16 HCSB)

And usually all the Terms and Conditions must be fully met before a replacement can be provided, but not this time:

For while we were still helpless, at the appointed moment, Christ died for the ungodly. For rarely will someone die for a just person - though for a good person perhaps someone might even dare to die. But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us! (Romans 5:6-8 HCSB)

I am a leaky bag of sand, but God sent a glorious replacement for me even though I didn’t (and still don’t) deserve it. Why would I replace my hopes in Him with anything or anyone else?

By Mark Stuart

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