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FIRST-PERSON: How true are you?

DORA, Ala. (BP)–The fall of a booming center of commerce referred to as Babylon is recounted in Revelation 18:11: “The merchants of the earth will also weep and mourn over her, because no one buys their merchandise any longer….”

The lament concerning “… the great city …” whose destruction is depicted continues in verses 14-17a:

“The fruit you craved has left you. All your splendid and glamorous things are gone; they will never find them again. The merchants of these things, who became rich from her, will stand far off in fear of her torment, weeping and mourning, saying: ‘woe, woe, the great city, clothed in fine linen, purple, and scarlet, adorned with gold, precious stones, and pearls; because in a single hour such fabulous wealth is destroyed!’” (Revelation 18:14-17a.).

Look at the beginning of this passage: “The fruit you craved has left you….” The “fruit” that the lives of these ungodly people produced, what they had so desperately “craved,” was material possessions. And they had abounded in them –- temporarily. Like all earthly pursuits, this kind of “fruit” has no lasting value at all, and these people will see theirs go literally and figuratively up in smoke in a moment of time.

And “they will never find them again,” the passage tells us; the temporal things their lives were focused on will vanish forever.

But for those of us who seek the things of God, there’s a different story.

Jesus said: “… whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will find it” (Matthew 16:25). When we die to self and live for Christ, we are more than compensated for all we give up. Like trading trash for treasure, we put off our old mortality, the “corruptible,” and put on “immortality,” that which is incorruptible, eternal and like our Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:54).

Now look back at the last part of our passage: “The merchants … will stand … weeping and mourning, saying: ‘… in a single hour such fabulous wealth is destroyed!’”

How like the self-absorbed people of today! No concern is shown for the loss of life, even though these would obviously be “friends,” business acquaintances they’d traded with and gotten to know. No concern is shown for the eternal significance of the events that have happened. No, what these moneymakers will be grieving for is their own loss of income.

It is comparable to our society’s “love ‘em and leave ‘em” attitude. If your wife no longer suits you, get another one. If your husband doesn’t appreciate you as he should, surely you can do better! If Jane is more affluent than Jill, forget Jill –- Jane’s the one in a position to help you up the ladder of success.

Loyalty may be rare, but it’s still out there, and we who claim the name of Jesus need to be totally sold out to this standard. You say your boss is really difficult? So what? Don’t bad-mouth him; pray for him. And pray for yourself. And if you conclude it isn’t right to stay where you are, start looking for employment somewhere else, but don’t relate your old boss’ problems as part of your interviews!

What does it mean to be “loyal”? It means to be faithful and true. No wonder Jesus identifies Himself as “the Faithful and True witness” in Revelation 3:14. No wonder the Rider of the white horse in Revelation 19:11 “is called Faithful and True.”

Jesus is totally loyal. Jesus is totally “Faithful and True.” Are you like Him? Are you ready to “put on the new man, who is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of his Creator” (Colossians 3:10)?
(Note: All scripture quotes are from the Holman Christian Standard Bible.)
Judy Woodward Bates is a Christian speaker; the author of The Gospel Truth about Money Management; and the creator of Bargainomics®, a Bible-based time and money management philosophy. Check her speaking schedule and find more information on her website: www.bargainomics.com.

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  • Judy Woodward Bates