I have almost completed The Traps Of The Devil series with you. Again, I have adapted a sermon I heard while in college from one of my professors. His name was John Garlock. His parents were missionaries to Africa Many of the great stories he told took place during his childhood there.
The illustration my professor used to relay the trap of treasure delivers perfect imagery of just how powerful this trap is.
When you hear the phrase The Trap Of Treasure what comes to mind? For me, my first thoughts are about getting caught up in greed. Many probably have the same idea. Maybe a greedy person like Ebenezer Scrooge, or a real person like Bernie Madoff comes to mind. For some it might be an evil corporation like ENRON.
Many who snared by the trap of treasure thought they were doing the right thing. At first glance that sounds odd. We have to remember though that the devil is sneaky and has had thousands of years of practice. Traps of any kind work best when they deceive their prey. The trap of treasure is no different. Not many people are going to stick their fingers in a mouse trap. Even if that mouse trap has tasty cheddar cheese in it. A mouse on the other hand loves cheese. Since all mice know that cheese will help their little bodies grow big and strong they are inclined to take the bait.
When the enemy uses the trap of treasure he typically uses bait that we would recognize as something important to our survival. It’s not typically something lavish. It’s something that we need and that is good for us.
Let me share the story my professor shared with us to illustrate the trap of treasure. When he lived in Africa his family stayed in villages where, in order to eat, the men of the tribe would go out and hunt. One of the animals they would hunt was the rhesus monkey. One is pictured at the top of the post. Now these little monkeys were too fast and agile to hunt with weapons available to the villagers. What they would do is carve out a coconut or if they had one, use a jar with a tiny opening at the top. They would stick a banana, which are good for monkeys, in the jar and tie it to a tree. The jar’s opening was large enough for the little monkey to stick his hand into, but once he clenched his fist to pull the banana out he realized… he was stuck. Since the monkey knows that bananas are good he will not let go. The hunter could then come out from a tree, walk over to the frightened little guy and hit the critter over the head. He could then bring him home for dinner. If only the monkey would let go of the nutritious banana and run he would be free.
We are sometimes trapped just like the monkey. We refuse to let go of something that is good for us and wind up getting clubbed over the head like our little friend. Maybe there is a well-paying job you can’t let go of even though you never see your family. Perhaps you won’t break free from a relationship in which your soon-to-be spouse has completely different religious views from you.
Don’t hold on to treasure in exchange for a life of pain. Hold on to what brings peace to your soul. Hold on to heavenly treasure. Hold on to grace and faith.