Among my fondest memories as a boy are the times I spent with my Grandpa Ingram. As we spent time together fishing and hunting and working around the place, Grandpa always had a story to tell that related to whatever it was we were doing. I probably heard them all a hundred times, but I never got tired of listening to them.
I recall one of the stories he told was about when he was a young man and did a lot of trapping for furs. Thought it was serious business because much of the family income came from the furs he would sell, Grandpa always enjoyed trying new ideas to try to outsmart the critters in the wild. He said that he knew raccoons were curious creatures and that they loved shiny objects, so one day he placed a shiny pearl button in a small knot hole in a log that lay across the creek. He knew that the moon would be full that night which would make the pearl shine and he knew raccoons had been crossing the creek on that log. He wanted to see if a raccoon would try to get the button out of the knot hole.
The next morning my grandpa got to the creek just as it was getting light enough to see, and sure enough, there sat a big raccoon with its paw in the knot hole working frantically trying to get that pearl button out of the log. The raccoon had become so preoccupied with the pearl button that he hadn’t noticed it was getting daylight nor did he notice my grandpa as he walked up to the log. Well, to make a long story short, which my Grandpa never did, he added that raccoon’s skin to his collection.
When I first heard that story as a boy, I thought how foolish that raccoon was to lose his life for a pearl button. Though that button was pretty and shiny, it was of no value to a raccoon.
Consider the words of Jesus in Matthew 16:26: “What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole wold,yet forfeits his soul.” When compared to the value of our soul and our eternal destiny, this world and all it has to offer are about as valuable to us as a pearl button is to a raccoon.
And yet, it’s so easy to become preoccupied with trying to acquire the things this world has to offer. It seems this is one of the most powerful tools of Satan, seeking to preoccupy us with the things of this world, to the neglect of our souls’ salvation.
Let us never forget the value of our soul and the souls of our children, of the precious peace that Jesus has brought and the eternal kingdom that God has prepared for us.
Let us never allow ourselves to become preoccupied with the things this world has to offer, which are of no lasting value…any more than a pearl button would be of value to a raccoon.