Author Topic: The cost of unbelief  (Read 3266 times)

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JimB

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The cost of unbelief
« on: July 23, 2008, 08:03:46 AM »
I remember years ago when I first heard this story and the impact it had on me. I thought I'd share it. Sorry for the length.

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"HERRINGS FOR NOTHING"

I want you to think of a bitter, east windy day, fast-falling snow, and a short, muddy street in London. Put these thoughts together, and add to them the picture of a tall, stout man, in a rough great coat, and with a large comforter round his neck, buffeting through wind and storm. The darkness is coming rapidly, as a man with a basket on his head turns the corner of the street, and there are two of us on opposite sides. He cries loudly as he goes: "Herrings! three a penny! Red herrings, good and cheap, three a penny!" So crying, he passes along the street, crosses at its end, and comes to where I am standing at the corner. Here he pauses, evidently wishing to fraternize with somebody, as a relief from the dull time and disappointed hopes of trade. I presume I appear a suitable object, as he comes close to me and begins conversation:-- "Governor, what do you think of these yer herrings?"--three in his hand, while the remaining stock are deftly balanced in the basket on his head. "Don't you think they're good?" and he offered me the opportunity of testing them by scent, which I courteously but firmly declined, "and don't you think they're cheap as well?" I asserted my decided opinion that they were good and cheap.

"Then, look you, governor, why can't I sell 'em? Yet have I walked a mile and a half along this dismal place, offering these good and cheap 'uns; and nobody don't buy none!" "I do not wonder at all at that," I answered, to his astonishment. "Tell us why not, governor." "The people have no work, and are starving; there are plenty of houses round here that have not a single penny in them," was my reply. "Ah! then, governor," he rejoined, "I've put my foot in it this time; I knew they was werry poor, but I thought three a penny 'ud tempt 'em. But if they haven't the ha-pence, they can't spend 'em, sure enough; so there's nothing for it but to carry 'em back, and try and sell 'em elsewhere. I thought by selling cheap, arter buying cheap, I could do them good, and earn a trifle for myself. But I'm done this time." "How much will you take for the lot?" I inquired. First a keen look at me, then down came the basket from his head, then a rapid calculation, then a grinning inquiry, "Do you mean profit an' all, governor?" "Yes." "Then I'll take four shillin', and be glad to get 'em.

I put my hand in my pocket, produced that amount, and handed it to him. "Right, governor, thank'ee! Now what'll I do with 'em?" he said, as he quickly transferred the coins to his own pocket. "Go round this corner into the middle of the road, and shout with all your might, 'Herrings for nothing!' and give three to every man, woman, or child that comes to you, till the basket is emptied." On hearing these instructions, he immediately reproduced the money, and examined it. Being satisfied of its genuineness, he again replaced it, and then looked keenly and questioningly at me. "Well," I said, "is it all right and good?" "Yes," replied he. "Then the herrings are my property, and I can do as I like with them; but if you do not like to do as I tell you, give me back my money." "All right, governor, an' they are yours; so if you say it, here goes!" Accordingly, he proceeded into the middle of the adjoining street, and went along, shouting aloud: "Herrings for nothing! Good red herrings for nothing!" Out of sight myself, I stood at the corner to watch his progress;  and speedily he neared the house where a tall woman stood at the first-floor window, looking out upon him.

"Here you are, missus," he bawled, "herrings for nothing! A fine chance for yer! Come an' take 'em."The woman shook her head unbelievingly, and left the window. "Vot a fool!" said he. "But they won't be all so. Herrings for nothing!" A little child came out to look at him, and he called to her, "Yer, my dear, take these in to your mother. Tell her how cheap they are--herrings for nothing." But the child was afraid of him and them, and ran indoors. So down the street, in the snowy slush and mud, went the cheap fish, the vender crying loudly as he went, "Herrings for nothing!" and then adding savagely, "O you fools!" Thus he reached the very end; and, turning to retrace his steps, he continued his double cry as he came, "Herrings for nothing!" and then in a lower key, "O you fools!" "Well?" I said to him calmly, as he reached me at the corner. "Well!" he replied, "if yer think so! When you gave me the money for herrings as yer didn't want, I thought you was training for a lunatic 'sylum. Now I thinks all the people round here are fit company for yer. But what'll I do with the herrings, if yer don't want 'em and they won't have'em?" "We will try again together," I replied. "I will come with you, and we will both shout." Into the road we both went; and he shouted, "Herrings for nothing!" and then I called out also, "Will any one have some herrings for tea?"

They heard the voice, and they knew it well; and they came out at once, in twos and threes and sixes, men and women and children, all striving eagerly to reach the welcome food. As fast as I could take them from the basket, I handed three to each eager applicant, until all were speedily disposed of. When the basket was empty, the hungry crowd who had none, was far greater than those that had been supplied; but they were too late; there were no more herrings. Foremost among the disappointed was the tall woman, who, with a bitter tongue, began vehemently: "Why haven't I got any? Ain't I as good as they? Ain't my children as hungry as theirs?" Before I had time to reply, the vender stretched out his arm toward her, saying, "Why, governor, that's the very woman as I offered 'em to first, and she turned up her nose at 'em." "I didn't," she rejoined passionately; "I didn't believe you meant it!" "Yer just goes without, then, for yer unbelief!" he replied. "Good night, and thank'ee, governor!"

You smile at the story, which is strictly true. Are you sure you are not ten thousand times worse? Their unbelief cost them only a hungry stomach; but what may your unbelief of God's offer cost you? God--not man--God has sent his messenger to you repeatedly for years, to offer pardon for nothing! Salvation for nothing! He has sent to your homes, your hearts, the most loving and tender offers that even an Almighty could frame; and what have you replied? Have you not turned away, in scornful unbelief, like the woman? God says, "Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded;... I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh." Prov. I:24-26. But he also says, "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price." Isa. 55:1. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16.
By communion with God in nature, the mind is uplifted, and the heart finds rest.  {DA 291.1}

Richard Myers

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Re: The cost of unbelief
« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2008, 12:12:13 PM »
Amen!  Blindness has come upon Israel! But, the harvest field is white and not all will reject the free Gift! Such a value!!  There is no greater sin than "unbelief".  Many believe, but will suffer eternal loss because of their unbelief.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

JimB

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Re: The cost of unbelief
« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2008, 10:37:17 AM »
Unbelief is very costly. Moses' unbelief kept him from crossing into the promised land. And as brother Richard mentioned it will keep many from seeing the promised land of Heaven.

However, there is hope. There is something that we can do that will help. That is to ask Jesus for help. Do you remember what the father of the demon possessed son asked of Jesus?
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Mar 9:23 Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.
Mar 9:24  And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.
By communion with God in nature, the mind is uplifted, and the heart finds rest.  {DA 291.1}

Richard Myers

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Re: The cost of unbelief
« Reply #3 on: August 02, 2008, 11:04:41 AM »
Amen! 

And, Moses "unbelief" did cost him his life, but his repentance was quick and deep. Therefore, having repented, he obtained eternal life and because of the depth of his character and God's plans, he was taken to heaven after only three days in the grave.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

JimB

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Re: The cost of unbelief
« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2008, 07:59:54 AM »
Quote
Moses did not merely think of God, he saw Him. God was the constant vision before him. Never did he lose sight of His face. To Moses faith was no guesswork; it was a reality. He believed that God ruled his life in particular; and in all its details he acknowledged Him. For strength to withstand every temptation, he trusted in Him. The great work assigned him he desired to make in the highest degree successful, and he placed his whole dependence upon divine power. He felt his need of help, asked for it, by faith grasped it, and in the assurance of sustaining strength went forward. {Ed 63.6}
By communion with God in nature, the mind is uplifted, and the heart finds rest.  {DA 291.1}

Mimi

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Re: The cost of unbelief
« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2008, 10:41:29 AM »
Amen! I think of the many times a lot of us, me in particular, have tried to fix situations instead of turning them over to God.
  For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. Psalm 119:89 

Lewis

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Re: The cost of unbelief
« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2008, 10:45:01 AM »
Amen! I think of the many times a lot of us, me in particular, have tried to fix situations instead of turning them over to God.

Amen. My family and I are going through a drastic life changing situation right now. The only way we can get through it is turning our whole situation over to God, and put our entire faith and trust in Him to help us through it.

Richard Myers

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Re: The cost of unbelief
« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2008, 09:29:50 PM »
Amen!  It is the only way any of us can get through this life!! Such a blessing to know our dependence upon Christ! And, His great love for us and His power to save!
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Mimi

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Re: The cost of unbelief
« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2008, 09:41:26 AM »
From the Desire of Ages, page 99, Zacharias was stuck dumb because of unbelief:
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Zacharias had expressed doubt of the angel's words. He was not to speak again until they were fulfilled. "Behold," said the angel, "thou shalt be dumb, . . . until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season." It was the duty of the priest in this service to pray for the pardon of public and national sins, and for the coming of the Messiah; but when Zacharias attempted to do this, he could not utter a word.

     Coming forth to bless the people, "he beckoned unto them, and remained speechless." They had waited long, and had begun to fear, lest he had been cut down by the judgment of God. But as he came forth from the holy place, his face was shining with the glory of God, "and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple." Zacharias communicated to them what he had seen and heard; and "as soon as the days of his ministration were accomplished, he departed to his own house."

     Soon after the birth of the promised child, the father's tongue was loosed, "and he spake, and praised God. And fear came on all that dwelt round about them: and all these sayings were noised abroad throughout all the hill country of Judea. And all they that heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, What manner of child shall this be!" All this tended to call attention to the Messiah's coming, for which John was to prepare the way.

And to us - what curses do we experience because of unbelief? Are we even aware of them? Do we experience financial setback? Are our children stricken? Do our crops fail?
  For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. Psalm 119:89 

Richard Myers

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Re: The cost of unbelief
« Reply #9 on: September 30, 2008, 09:33:19 PM »
There is no greater sin than unbelief.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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  • A glorious sunset teaches of trust and faith.....
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Re: The cost of unbelief
« Reply #10 on: December 18, 2014, 09:20:07 AM »
What do we believe? Do we really believe God's promises? Do we really believe 2 Peter 1:4?
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.