Though it may not always be spoken out loud, there’s a question making the rounds these days. That question is whether the leadership of the free world is for sale. Can the most powerful position in the country, and probably the world, be bought if enough money is thrown at it? Beyond that, how many other public offices and highly influential leadership positions, elected or otherwise, might be purchased if enough money is offered in the right places? Perhaps only time will tell.
There are differing opinions on the issue, of course, but I know what a former friend of mine involved in sales would say if he were around today. He’d say. “Everything’s for sale,” and quickly follow up with … “The only question is, how much does it cost?”
Whether or not my friend’s all-inclusive assessment is correct, there are serious debates under way about how far financial influence should be allowed to go when it comes to public policy. What kinds of things should people be able to acquire simply by throwing enough cash on the table? In a free society, how many limits should be imposed on how money is used, and who has the right or responsibility to impose those limits and/or enforce them?
People love to talk about what they would do if they had unlimited funds, and there is no end of folks who want to tell the rest of us what to do with our money, especially what we should or shouldn’t buy with it. God has some advice in that area, too, and while so much is being said about what money can buy, how’s this for a sales pitch?
Buy the truth, and do not sell it, Also wisdom and instruction and understanding. Proverbs 23:23 (NKJV)
Wait a minute. Is God really saying that we ought to buy the truth? Does that mean that truth is for sale? If, indeed, that is the case, how would the cost be determined? What form of currency would be involved? Where would we get the necessary payment? And what would the transaction look like?
A Different Kind of Transaction ~
Obviously, what God is suggesting that we buy isn’t traded in the world’s usual market standards, but like any sales exchange, it involves the sacrifice of one valuable commodity for another. If I decide to buy a chicken sandwich, for instance, I must first determine whether satisfying my grumbling stomach is worth giving up the five bucks in my wallet. That kind of transaction is simple and easy to understand, but what could we possibly have to offer in order to buy the truth? At least one answer is that we’d have to give up our lies, our deceptions, our false information, and our efforts to mislead and obfuscate. But why would we want to hang onto them anyway? Here are a few reasons:
- Lies can be seen as a handy tool for manipulating others and getting things we want.
They only consult to cast him down from his high position; They delight in lies; They bless with their mouth, But they curse inwardly. Psalm 62:4 (NKJV)
- Lies can offer the illusion of protection and security, but their offers are always eventually proven to be fraudulent.
…When the overflowing scourge passes through, It will not come to us, For we have made lies our refuge, And under falsehood we have hidden ourselves. Isaiah 28:15b (NKJV)
- Lies can be powerful weapons in personal skirmishes against those we perceive as enemies.
“And like their bow they have bent their tongues for lies. They are not valiant for the truth on the earth. For they proceed from evil to evil, And they do not know Me,” says the LORD. Jeremiah 9:3 (NKJV)
Buying the truth not only requires surrendering the lies we might tell those around us, but also those we willingly accept without question from others. Then we must also give up those lies we tell ourselves. In a culture with so much deception everywhere we look, and varying degrees of false information permeating our existence, buying the truth might require some serious horse trading, beginning with a commitment not to take everything at face value, perhaps especially when it sounds really good. Truth might be in the mix somewhere, but discovering it might require relinquishing a few good sounding lies.
Toxic Self-Talk ~
Whether we recognize it or not, all of us talk to ourselves about all kinds of things, and unfortunately, we’re not always honest. That doesn’t mean that we deliberately set out to deceive ourselves. Most of the time, it’s an almost unconscious response, but either way, the end result can be powerfully deceiving, and things we tell ourselves might be hiding truth that we really need to confront. For instance, we fallen creatures are prone to allow ourselves to develop habits that we know are self-destructive. We sometimes do things that harm our bodies and damage our testimony for Christ, but we tell ourselves it’s okay because it’s only me and I’m not hurting anyone else.
There may also be times when we appear to approve of ideas, philosophies, or behaviors that we know God has clearly condemned, and in the presence of those who practice and/or promote them, we go along with them rather than risk rejection. Then, rather than face our fears, we tell ourselves that we just wanted to display love and not appear to be offensive.
Additional Benefits ~
Maybe we tell ourselves that a three-minute prayer is enough because we’re tired, or that those five verses we read earlier in the week will suffice. The self-directed lies we indulge in are almost always more damaging than any told about us by others. Surrendering our comfortable self-deceptions may not be easy, but the truth we purchase by giving them up is not only priceless in itself, but it comes with other benefits as well. God also included wisdom, instruction, and understanding.
That trilogy, according to Solomon, is worth more than gold, silver, and all kinds of precious stones. The things God says to buy won’t lower our bank accounts, but acquiring them will definitely help improve the way we handle our material goods and open the door for God’s blessing in that arena as well.
Happy is the man who finds wisdom, And the man who gains understanding;
For her proceeds are better than the profits of silver, And her gain than fine gold.
She is more precious than rubies, And all the things you may desire cannot compare with her. Proverbs 3:13-15 (NKJV)
At a time when everyone’s talking about what money can buy, what if we did something radically different? We may not be able to resolve the question of the role of wealth in politics, but we could try taking God up on His offer to buy the things the world will never offer us. The day will come when all of us will face our loving Creator and someone else will be claiming the money in our bank accounts. The only treasures we’ll own then will be things we bought that will last, like truth, wisdom, and understanding. On that day, we wouldn’t sell any of it for all the wealth the world can accumulate.
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- “The things God says to buy – wisdom, instruction, and understanding – won’t lower our bank accounts, but acquiring them will definitely help improve the way we handle our material goods and open the door for God’s blessing in that arena.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
- “We may not be able to resolve the question of the role of wealth in politics, but we could try taking God up on His offer to buy the things the world will never offer… Someone else will eventually claim the money in our bank accounts.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
- “The day will come when all of us will face our loving Creator and someone else will claim the money in our bank accounts. The only treasures we’ll own then will be things we bought that will last, like truth, wisdom, and understanding.” @GallaghersPen (Click here to Tweet)
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