October 22, 2019, was the first day of the World Series between the Houston Astros and the Washington Nationals.
The games weren’t Friday Night Lights for low-income families—the average per-ticket price was $950. Standing-room started at $360; a seat on the outfield deck was $650; a box seat was $2,500; a spot in the elite Diamond Club went for a jaw-dropping $10,500.
For die-hard fans, it was the most important event in the world. One devotee, reflecting on the Astros’ World Series win two years earlier, said, “The greatest day of my life is when we won.”
One buff offered a kidney for a ticket to the first game of the 2019 series.
But the post that sent chills down my spine was a tweet from Kaylise, offering to sell her soul for World Series tickets. Keyhlise’s tweet causes us to cringe, but aren’t there many who sell their souls for the paltry returns of all-consuming desires? Things like—
From rural and urban America, they gravitate to New York and Hollywood to claim the fame of stardom. They park cars, bus tables, clean restrooms—even turn tricks—to eat and pay the rent while chasing their dream of getting their name on the marquee and their picture in the Sunday Supplement.
Some will sell their soul for the top-floor corner office. More than anything, they want to be top dog, claiming a spot on Forbes’ “Most Powerful” list. They’ll do whatever it takes to get there? No price is too high.
Politics is intoxicating. The position of power has a way of anesthetizing the conscience. Few politicians remain sufficiently grounded to resist shady conduct to maintain their domain of dominance. To get there and stay there, they will sacrifice integrity and honor, family and faith.
Jesus spun a story about a farmer who hit pay dirt with a bumper crop and laid out a plan to protect his fortune and live a long life of leisure and luxury.
He would be applauded in our culture as practical and prudent; a hard worker, respected and envied. His flaw was that he had an outsized sense of ownership and a dwarfed sense of stewardship. His passion for prosperity monopolized his life. He thought he had the future by the throat; he was in control. His security wasn’t in his God but in his wealth.
“I have enough stored away for many years,” he said. “You fool!” God said. “You will die this very night” (Lk 12:19–20).
There are two panels to this picture. The first shows the drawings on his desk: state of the art barns bursting with grain. But shift your gaze to panel two, and you’ll see him in his coffin with his hands crossed on his chest.
Jesus didn’t give him a name—just “a certain rich man.” He was known in his day for only one thing: he was rich. He is known in our day for only one thing: he was a fool.
He thought he had many years when, in fact, he didn’t even have one more day.
The contrast is sobering: “Many years”—“This very night.”
The bottom line of focus on the here-and-now will inevitably be the sale of the soul.