I wanted it so badly. I daydreamed about it. I plotted. I pleaded. I hoped. I envied. I needed it; desperately. Other preachers had one. Why shouldn’t I? I rationalized. My study habits would increase. I would be better prepared. I would simply be better. Better everything. That is; if! That is if I had an iPad. An iPod; my miniature iPad was simply not enough. I waited. I watched. I wondered. Days passed. Months flew. Years accrued. No iPad. Did I mention I wanted it so badly? I had a missionary friend with i-everything. He got an iPhone, an iPad, and even a Mac in a matter of days. Scoundrel! People just gave these precious items to him. I know I should have rejoiced with him. I tried. But, I wanted it so badly!
How much are you willing to pay for something you want really bad? How badly do you want it? I’ve often thought, here in North America, you can afford just about anything you want. That is, if you want it badly enough.
A seventeen year-old boy in China wanted an iPhone and iPad 2 really bad. He was recruited through an online chat room to sell one of his kidneys. It was a small organ and a small sacrifice to get what he truly wanted. He received around $3,500.00 while the buyers received $35,000.00 for the deal. The boy received a mere ten percent. The surgeon, organ brokers, and hospital contractor have all been arrested. Today, the boy is suffering from kidney failure. Unbelievable. This boy was willing to give a kidney, put his life in danger, in order to get a couple of technological trinkets. Silly? Certainly. But you have to understand. He wanted it so badly!
I well remember life on the AIM program. We had a grand total of $12.79 come in the first month after being married. I’d do it all over again. The sacrifice was worth it as men and women were trained, were sent out, churches were started, and literally thousands were baptized in Jesus name and received the baptism of the Holy Ghost. The absence of the spirit of sacrifice will only cause the dismantling of the global missions cause. Calvary demanded sacrifice. It always has. It always will. The early church was built upon it. The forming of the United Pentecostal Church International solidified it. This has not and cannot change. From the beginning it has always been about taking the whole gospel to the whole world. So, that brings it down to the real question: how much are you willing to pay to ransom a soul?
I’m going to repeat that a mere second, a line, and the beginning of a paragraph later: how much are you willing to pay to ransom a soul? I know “ransom” has such a malicious connotation in this world plagued with terrorism on every continent. But, it is a Bible word, “For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). This is something that is good and acceptable to “God our Saviour.” He wants “all men to be saved.” He wanted it so bad that He “gave himself a ransom for all.” Paul testified this was the reason he was in the ministry. The bottom-line of why I’m a preacher is to give myself “a ransom for all” (1 Timothy 2:3-7).
I suppose there are other words that maybe would soften the word picture conjured in our minds when we think of “ransom.” But, that doesn’t change the reality or the gravity of the matter. “Ransom” means “payment” and comes from the Latin word “redemption” which means “buying back.” God has placed us in the “ransom” business. Together, with God, we deliver, rescue, liberate, get back, recover, regain, retrieve, release, and salvage. We march right into the enemy’s camp and we forcefully take back what rightfully belongs to God.
There are other things that rightfully belong to God and require careful stewardship and management. Our blessings are the resources we have to advance God’s kingdom; at home and around the world. The early church possessed things instead of being possessed by things.
It all comes back to the same question. With over seven billion people in our world, and being privileged to be a recipient of this life-changing and life-saving apostolic message, how much are you willing to pay to ransom a lost soul? Winning a lost soul; I want it so badly!