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The Trade


Commie — a common playing marble, especially one not used as a shooter.

Have you ever traded something that you valued highly, for something that you desired even more? I remember in the third grade trading away some very prized marbles. A friend of mine had brought to school a very special marble — an aggie made of agate. I don’t remember the color of it but I do remember that I wanted it more than any marble I had. Since my friend was willing to trade with me, the only obstacle was to agree on the terms of the trade. I offered 2, 3, and then 4 commies, but he wouldn’t even look at them. He asked, do you have any purees (transparent glass marbles of various colors). I then brought 4 purees out of the bag. These were not enough for my friend. I looked deep into my marble bag and found several additional purees that were much larger. When I finally had given him all my purees, he traded with me for the aggie.

God has offered us a trade. He offers one item called eternity. However, eternity, even though one item, brings many additional desirable qualities and gifts with it. All God wants in trade is our willful hearts — our desire to exhibit self-destructive behaviors. He even says He will change our heart’s desires from self-destruction toward life everlasting.

It has been over 50 years since I traded for that aggie and I have no idea where it is now. In fact, all of my so-called prized marbles are all gone, and the bag I kept them in is also gone.

Eternity is incomprehensible to me. Unlike an aggie, it is an abstract concept. This is why God has given us concrete, poetic, and pictorial descriptions of what eternity contains; a golden city with walls, gates, streets where children play, and old people with canes in their hands watching them play. Maybe Paul and Isaiah saw children trading and then playing a game of marbles in the street. Actually, the most accurate description of eternity is found in 1 Corinthians 2:9:

Eye has not seen nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of mankind the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” [Based on Isaiah 64:4 & 65:17]  

And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal…” Revelation 21:10, 11.

Are you willing to trade away the relatively desirable things of this world that eventually slip out of our possession anyway?


Dennis Hollingsead works in the Office of Development at Andrews University.

Photo Credit: / michelle kwajafa


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