Last night, I had a dream. It wasn't because of pepperoni 'cause I didn't have a single bit of that infernal meat yesterday, but it may have been because of something I ate at our church fellowship lunch. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />
In my dream, I was visiting a funky neighborhood of another city, and happened upon a shop that promised to be chock-full of stuff relating to comic strips, cartoons, etc.. As something of a fan of "Peanuts", "Calvin and Hobbes", and the like, I stepped into the shop to have a look. There was lots of stuff alright. I particularly noticed a hardcover book that purported to be the new volume in the superlative Complete Peanuts
series that's being published. Excited to see the new volume, I opened it up, only to be dismayed by the sight of artwork that was utterly different than that of the actual comic strip. Having expected to see the real Peanuts strip, I was disappointed to see an utterly miserable imitation. I left the shop amazed by how it could stay in business, considering that it was selling goods that no comics fan in his right mind would touch with a ten-foot pole.
Since arising from my dream, my thoughts have turned to two other shops that might be found in your neighborhood or mine. Both shops purport to sell The Truth.
In one shop, the available goods promise you a direct, lively encounter with God Himself. The shopkeeper and his customers will, with much fervor, tell of the amazing experiences they've had with their brand of Truth, but they'll admit that sometimes it's difficult to discern between Truth and the oft-convincing counterfeits of the Flesh and the Devil. "You'll be alright, though," the shopkeeper volunteers, "if you just keep up the faith and never entertain any doubt." I leave this shop with much the same attitude as I left the comics shop, wondering who'd want to buy a product that, although packaged with such glowing promises, comes with no guarantee.
A few doors down the street, I find another shop. Like the last one, this one claims to sell the Truth. The proprietor of this shop projects a mixture of joy and sobriety. He speaks of the many blessings he's enjoyed through the Truth, as well as of the many trials he's endured, but yet he somehow manages to speak of those trials with joy, as the Master of the Truth has always given him more than enough grace to endure every one. "The ways of my Master", he tells me, "aren't always easy to understand, but yet I take much comfort in knowing that this Book I hold is entirely trustworthy and complete for everything I need. The way of Truth isn't always as trouble-free as I'd like, but yet I enjoy absolute confidence on account of what's written in this Book that my Master will never leave nor forsake me."
My window shopping complete, I find myself pondering about from which shop I'd rather purchase the Truth. Although the first shop, with its fervor regarding amazing present-day experiences, seemed enticing enough in its way, I find myself drawn to the wares of the second shop. You see, the first shop could promise me only the imperfect, incomplete gifts of the "spirit", whereas the second gave me the inspired and sufficient Scriptures. Much like in my dream I turned down the pirated Peanuts book in favor of the real thing, I realize that I would be a fool to exchange the perfectly reliable Truth of God's Word, the Bible, for any purported sign, wonder, or gift even if it promises to be from God Himself. After all, why would I buy junk when I can possess the very pearl of greatest price?