Losing by Winning

“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:9

Last night I won an online auction. But my heart told me I’d lost. Maybe I should explain.

The auction was for a computer. My old computer [this one] was a bottom-of-the-line door buster special six or seven years ago. It still works as long as we don’t power it off or allow it to go into sleep mode. But if it doesn’t wake up, I’ll lose my latest work when it’s not backed up. That’s not worth the risk.

So for the past couple weeks I’ve been checking out new computers. The ones that caught my eye were bigger, faster, and more expensive–about $800. They had ports and connections and features I didn’t even know existed, such as a blu-ray writer. That would be a major purchase at our house, but I planned to do it.

Then last night I happened across the end of an auction for a two year old off-brand computer with dings and scuffs at a fraction of the cost. It didn’t have any bells and whistles, but it still had twice the processor speed and six times the RAM as my old machine. I knew it was cheap, but I didn’t think it would really sell that low. So on a whim I put down the minimum increase at the last minute, expecting to discover that I had been outbid all along.

Wrong. I won the auction. And I was disappointed. Now I won’t be able to buy the nicer machine with the bells and whistles. When I told my wife I didn’t really want it, she replied, “Then why did you bid?”

Why do wives ask hard questions like that?

Here’s a harder question: “Why didn’t I want it?” After all, this computer should do everything I need for basic computing except video editing (which may be a real issue).

An answer to that harder question is tucked away in 1 John 2:15, which says, “Do not love the world or anything in the world.”  I bought under the influence of the lust of the eyes. I won, but I lost because I wanted a fancier computer. My heart whispered, “Not enough.”

That’s why I can’t trust my heart. It’s deceitful and selfish. It always wants more. That doesn’t mean it would have been wrong to buy a better computer. Owning nice things are fine, but we’re in trouble when nice things own us.

Maybe I’ll keep looking. I don’t know. But I do know I can’t trust my heart.

How about you? Do you trust your heart?

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