"But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil" (Heb. 5:14).
Back in the early to mid nineties, I had a craft booth in a local craft mall where I sold hand-made wooden articles. One such item was a southwest style bench made of pine with a storage area under the hinged seat. I made the bench using pinned mortise and tennon joinery, so it was built to last for many decades, perhaps even for generations. I was asking around $300, which wasn't exorbitant for hand-made furniture. However, I watched as people would look at the bench or rub their hands over the finely sanded surface and say, "That's nice." Then, as they looked at the price tag, I would hear them say, "THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS!!! He's sure proud of that!" I then watched, more than once, as these disgusted shoppers would turn from my "over-priced" furniture and walk to another booth where they were more than happy to pay $250 for a beanie baby, a popular bean-bag type collectors item: nothing more than a stuffed animal.
I tell you that puzzled me. That disturbed me. That embittered me! I was offended and disgusted. It was my first real revelation of the warped value system of our culture. During this time, a friend of mine told me a story. He owned an art gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico in the late eighties, during a time of recession. He said that during a weak economy, art galleries in Santa Fe did very well. However, when the economy turned strong, he watched as around forty art galleries on his street went out of business in one year, and that eventually included his own. He said that in a weak economy, people value that which has intrinsic value, but in a strong economy, people only spend money on junk.
When times are good, people value junk! It's hard times that turn appetites from the immediate and short-lived gratification of "trinkets" to that which is of real and lasting value. Good times devalue true riches, and value junk. Bad times do the opposite. Good times turn appetites to beanie babies, and rough times turn appetites to fine art. The same, I'm afraid, is true in Christendom, where the values of this wicked world have infected many of God's people, who walk not after the Spirit, but after the flesh.
In light of that fact, I would like to offer to you an audio message that I'm sure will be of little interest to the many. Like the hand-made bench that never sold, but sits as a well-used (as you can see) addition to our living room, I value this message because I know what went into it. I know of its strength and value. But, I also know that at present, most will hear in this message nothing that excites the senses; nothing that resounds with the music of the spirit of the age that excites and enchants them. They will quickly turn away, especially when they catch a glimpse of the cost, and turn to that which is the popular commodity of our day: "beanie baby truth" that has value only in the artificially inflated "value" of passing fad. Or, they may turn, not necessarily to worthless trinkets, but perhaps to the utility of a less costly "look-alike", much like one might buy from Wal-Mart their particleboard furniture with wood-like laminate exteriors, rather than solid wood furniture that endures, even when moved, stored, handed-down, or perhaps even when soaked by an unexpected disaster.
Download this message and save it for a rainy day. Save it for the flood of great waters. Save it for a day when truth will come hard, and value is all that will matter. Save it for the soon approaching day when the great mass of our wood, hay, and stubble will be burned away, allowing us to see our poverty, and then take it back out and examine it under a magnifying lens. See if it's a cheap imitation or a work of art that will hold its value throughout the ages: the work of the master's hand on the canvass of human heart and life. If this message fills no hunger within you at this time, then save it for a day when your appetites change. Save it for a day when you will be willing to sacrifice to His blood "all the vain things that charm you most." I believe this audio message will satisfy the deep hunger in the hearts of those whose appetites or senses have been exercised to discern both good and evil. The message is entitled When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.
Please let me know if you have trouble with the audio. I can't fix it if I don't know it's broke. :)