There Was a Crooked Man (The Great Exchange)

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Hello Dear Blog-Nog Friends,

After seeing a television news clip the other day, showing the New York Stock Exchange bedlam, I marveled at all the antics of grown men frantically exchanging – what?

I wondered what these stock traders were like as little boys.  Were they the ones who could persuade the exchange of a proven “shootercat’s eye marble for a baseball card of dubious value?  And then I thought of some of the exchanges our own boys came up with in their grade school years.

Yes, while raising our four boys, my husband Dale and I sometimes saw the making of miniature New York Stock Exchange brokers going on in our own home.  For example, even though we didn’t have a White House Lincoln bedroom, we discovered our seven-year-old was charging his little friends a nickel for an overnight stay at our house!

However, we also found he would sometimes play the generous host and buy his guest a nickel packet of five baseball collector cards (with a piece of gum included) at the local grocery store.  As it turned out, there was more than a nickel’s worth of exchange value in some of those baseball card packets that our boys collected.  A coveted “Mickey Mantle” card popped up, which eventually became worth 500 dollars! (In fact, some mint condition Mickey Mantle rookie cards can sell for as much as $20,000 now).

But we also saw our boys come home from school with sad faces for having exchanged a treasured buffalo nickel or Indian head penny for a tasty morsel. (It seems the Old Testament Esau/Jacob lopsided exchange syndrome lives on!)

In all phases of our society, we earthlings are involved every day in some kind of exchange.

If anyone was in need of a great exchange, it must have been the Crooked Man in the old rhyme of 1842 A.D.  His whole world was crooked.  Let alone being a crooked man, his daily walk was crooked, his sixpence was crooked, his house was crooked, and even the cat that he bought was crooked; which begs the question, “Was the salesman crooked to sell him a crooked cat?”

This much I do know: a crooked salesman did sell me a crooked goose!  Honest!  Actually, he sold us three geese.  He stopped at our house with this wonderful goose solution to all the mowing activity he saw going on each week on our acreage.  We had twenty acres for our four boys to grow up on, doing everything boys love to do, but they also had to help mow the three acres of lawn around the house.  Bradley, age twelve then, was in charge of the riding mower and very suspicious that three geese could match his lawn mowing expertise.

Not to worry, though.  The salesman painted a glowing picture of an im”peck”able lawn, manicured by three graceful geese, ever-munching (thus mowing) to keep our grass beautiful.  Their feathers could even be dyed to resemble flamingos!” he suggested.  Wow!  Our imagination was captured instantly, and our payment was captured in quick advance by the salesman who promised to drop the geese off later that day.

And drop them off he did – literally, as we watched from our dinner table, 100 yards away – and then watched his van racing toward the mountains.  I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry at the sight of three rowdy, ungainly geese, loudly honking their raucous racket of territorial claim over our three acres of lawn.

I dubbed them Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.  Abednego was the “crooked” goose who seemed to have a swivel in his back, so that half of him flipped one way while the rest of him went another way.  Mayhem had come, in all its fowl fury, to our happy homestead.

Days went by, with the rowdy squatters establishing their land grab by their squawking and careless bathroom habits, which made it a high risk to dare sit down on our own lawn.  All of this drove our boys to occupy the thick underbrush of the top ten acres for their boyhood adventures, away from the eyes of their parents.  Yes! Shadrach, Mesach and Abednego had to go, and roast goose was added to the “Decker Restaurant” menu for the following week.

The answer was a nice, new Baptist minister in our small town who, we heard from his pianist, used to be a butcher.  So off we went to town to enlist his help in the cause of common Christian rescue.  Our proposal was half of three geese for his oven-ready butchering skills.  One goose each, and Abednego’s swivel back would nicely accommodate a top half for the minister and a bottom half for us.

As roast goose was a favorite of the new minister, he was delighted to gather his butchering tools and follow Dale and me home.  As we entered our gate, a recently-unfamiliar silence greeted us.  Then, carefully avoiding the messy lawn, Bradley and Kevin raced down the path shouting, “The geese ran away, they’re heading north!” (Keep in mind that word “north” for the surprise ending in another blog.)

How did they know the day of reckoning had come?  Somehow, like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego of old, they had escaped their version of the fiery furnace. The good news was that, in due time, the Decker family could sit down on our own lawn again – once again proudly mowed by son Bradley and Co.

So, we return to the Crooked Man, and all that our loving God offers this crooked, yet precious world in the Greatest Exchange of the Ages: The Gift of His Son, The Lord Jesus Christ, in exchange for all the disappointment and failure that are wrapped up in the word “sin.”

In Mark 8:37, Jesus said, “What shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” The currency of heaven is not the dollar, the euro, the yen or the lira.  Christ has paid the ultimate price.  Unlike the New York Stock Exchange, God’s economy is the power of His redeeming love and grace.  The only exchange we can offer is to receive by faith His priceless Gift.

Read these amazing words in II Corinthians 5:21 – “For He (God) hath made Him (Jesus), Who knew no sin, to be made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” What an amazing exchange! The unsearchable riches of God’s love exchanged for our trust in the Christ of Calvary! – The Greatest Exchange of all!

Thank you for your reader-friendship, and I wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving!

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Christian Mother Goose®

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