A little boy put his hand into an expensive Chinese vase and quickly discovered he was stuck. He tugged and jerked but his hand wouldn’t budge. He cried out and soon his parents were doing all they could to get the boy’s hand out. After exhausting all ideas, they decided they had to break the vase. They carefully chipped the vase away and immediately realized why the boy’s hand was stuck in the first place. The boy’s hand had been open when he put it into the vase, but now it was in a fist which tightly clutched a penny. In childish ignorance, he didn’t want to let the penny go to free his hand (SermonIllustrations.com).
Many aspects of our world are appealing and draw us in. The problem is that many try to live a life dedicated to God and a life of sin at the same time. Like the boy clutching the penny, we simply cannot live a righteous life for God until we let go of our sinful lifestyles. Christ put it simply, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth” (Matthew 6:24).
The lesson for us is very simple and clear. We must chose whether we are going to dedicate ourselves to God and serve Him, or to live in sin and selfishness. If we choose to live for ourselves and in sin, the reward will be equivalent to a shinny penny. If we choose to live for the Lord, the glory and riches will be well beyond what we can comprehend. We can’t have both ways; we can only choose one. When we make the choice, hopefully our words will echo Joshua 24:15, “…but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”