How much of God would you like to have?
By Don Ruhl
My fellow-laborers in the gospel in Grants Pass at the time, Nathan and Dara House did not believe that I would do it. When we entered the Christian bookstore in downtown Grants Pass, they got away from me quickly, but they remained within earshot or at least Nathan did.
I walked up to the counter where two ladies were ready to help me.
I requested, “I would like to buy $3.00 worth of God…” pausing just long enough to see if they thought I was a kook, which they did, I continued, “By Wilbur E. Rees.”
They did not understand.
I explained that $3.00 Worth of God is a book by Wilbur E. Rees.
So they checked their computer database, perhaps only to humor me, and they could not find such a title, supporting their suspicions that I was a clown.
Several writers in a magazine referenced this work, so did Cory Collins in the December 2002 issue of the Gospel Advocate (pp. 34, 35), in his article, “Keeping God at Arm’s Length.” So I contacted him to see if he could help me locate the book. He had only heard of it from others, but he did give me some help on how to find it on the Internet.
In time I contacted Mr. Rees but the book is out of print, although he had a few copies and said that he would sell me one.
The book arrived and I took it to the bookstore and showed it to the ladies. They were still skeptical, thinking that it was a joke book, so I let them look. It is a book of meditations, and the first one is the title and tone of the book.
Do you think that it is strange to buy God? What do you think of buying only $3.00 worth of God? If $3.00 is not enough, how much is?
After quoting Acts 8.18–20, here is what Mr. Rees wrote,
“I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please, not enough to explode my soul or disturb my sleep, but just enough to equal a cup of warm milk or a snooze in the sunshine. I don’t want enough of Him to make me love a black man or pick beets with a migrant. I want ecstasy, not transformation; I want the warmth of the womb, not a new birth. I want a pound of the Eternal in a paper sack. I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please.”
In Acts 8 Simon attempted to buy the power of the Holy Spirit, “And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, saying, ‘Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit.’ But Peter said to him, ‘Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money!’” (Acts 8.18–20).
We cannot buy God! We cannot buy Him with $3.00 or $3 Trillion! We acknowledge this intellectually, yet, the truth of Mr. Rees’s thoughts are that we want to buy some of Him. We do not want Him fully for what and who He is.
$3.00 Worth of God
“I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please, not enough to explode my soul or disturb my sleep, but just enough to equal a cup of warm milk or a snooze in the sunshine.”
Give me enough of God to make me feel comfortable. Give me enough of God to give me the warm fuzzies. Give me enough of God to control, not that I must submit to His control.
“I don’t want enough of Him to make me love a black man or pick beets with a migrant.”
Do not give me enough of God to make me accept people the way He does. If you give me too much of Him, I will have to change the way I treat people.
“I want ecstasy, not transformation; I want the warmth of the womb, not a new birth.”
I want the rush of excitement that comes from knowing about God, not the pain that comes from changing my person after knowing God.
“I want a pound of the Eternal in a paper sack.”
Give me enough of God’s religion that I can hold it cheaply in a flimsy container. I want to experience the Eternal, but I do not want to get too wild about it. That sounds fanatical, even cultish.
“I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please.”
Yes, just enough of God that I experience all His wonders, but not enough of Him that I may see Him for all that He is. Give me the pretty side, not the demanding side. Give me enough of God that I may control Him, not that He may control me.
Perhaps $3.00 is not right for 2013
The edition of Mr. Rees’s book that I bought is 1971! Perhaps now the price should be $30.00. Wait! That sounds too much like 30 pieces of silver. “Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, ‘What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him to you?’ And they counted out to him thirty pieces of silver” (Matt 26.14, 15).
Do you only want $3.00 worth of God?
As Solomon confessed in First Kings 8, there is more to God than we could ever imagine, “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You. How much less this temple which I have built!” (1Ki 8.27).
I would give more than $3.00 to breathe the air that fills our part of the heavens! Is not God worth more? The God of whom announcements of His holiness shake heaven, you only want $3.00 worth of Him? (Isa 6.1–4).
Would we not give more than $3.00 to see a movie of Isaiah 6.1–4 portrayed? What about to experience it?
The God before whom Daniel could not stand or even be on all fours, do we only want a certain dollar amount of Him? (Dan 10.5–19).
The God whose eyes are a flame of fire and who holds the stars in His hand, you only want a few bucks worth? (Rev 1.12–17).
The God who can touch you with the same hand with which He holds stars, let’s buy Him for $3.00!
What would you give for…Your nation? Your family? Would you not give your life? Is God worth less than our nation? Is He not as valuable as our families? Why then do we hold back our devotion and obedience to Him?
My fellow-workers, the Houses, should have been embarrassed by my question of buying $3.00 worth of God. The ladies at the book store were right to think that I was odd for asking to buy $3.00 worth of God.
We cannot buy God.
If we could buy Him, shall we only get $3.00 worth, especially when He tells us that we may have His fullness.
Why do we cheat ourselves by giving Him less than all our heart, all our soul, all our mind, and all our strength?
What if He did what we do? What if He only gave us $3.00 worth of life? What if He gave us $3.00 worth of Jesus Christ? He promises to give as we have given, using the same measure. So, if I give Him $3.00 worth of my life, He shall give me $3.00 worth in return.
Listen to what God offers. “And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace” (John 1.16). “…to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Eph 3.19).
What would you think if I came into your home, read Ephesians 3.19, and prayed that you may be filled with $3.00 worth of God?
How much of God do you want? How much are you willing to pay? I am do not speak of money!
Do you know how to have all of God? God has offered all of Himself by offering all of His Son. For that to take effect, you must commit to giving all of yourself.
Therefore, a burial has to take place, showing that you are dead to yourself. We call this baptism.
You can download another version of this article that appeared in the paper version of The Bible Meditator Here