“It is not a sacrifice to give up things of lesser importance for those of greater value. In fact it’s a bargain”. Benjamin Stein In December 1936, King Edward The Eighth created a crisis of seismic proportions for the United Kingdom and the British Commonwealth of which he was head, when , in direct contravention of the advice of the Government of Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin and the vehement opposition of the Church, he chose to marry the twice divorced American gold digger Wallis Simpson. In defense of the constitution of the realm and to preserve the integrity of the Church of which he was also the nominal head, the lords temporal and spiritual asked the King to choose between the throne and the woman. To the bewilderment of nobles and plebeians, citizens and subjects the world over, the King chose the woman and renounced his throne! The Instrument of Abdication signed by King Edward VIII in the presence of his three brothers read thus: “I, Edward The Eighth, of Great Britain, Ireland, and the British Dominions beyond the Seas, King, Emperor of India, do hereby declare My irrevocable determination to renounce the throne for Myself and for My Descendants and My desire that effect should be given to this instrument of abdication immediately”. With these words Edward VIII left his throne and all the trappings associated with it for the sake of a woman, who’s known other lovers included a car mechanic and most notably, Joachim Von Ribbentrop, Adolf Hitler’s Ambassador to the court of St. James’s. It was widely reported at the time that the Ambassador sent her seventeen carnations daily, one representing each time they had slept together. Yet for the sake of this woman, the King of arguably the greatest empire the world had ever known; an empire on which the sun never set, encompassing more than half of the world’s population. – I say for the sake of this woman – the king abdicated his throne! Why would a man do this? Why would a man sacrifice his throne for the love of a woman of questionable virtue? Two thousand nine hundred and forty years before Edward VIII was Prince Amnon. He was the heir apparent to the throne of David, being King David’s first son (2Sam 3:2). Presented with a stark choice between an incestuous desire for his sister Tamar and the throne, Prince Amnon damned the latter and ravished his sister. He paid the price for his debauchery and hubris with his life. Generations after would have had to mention King Amnon the same way they talk about King David or King Solomon. Yet, for a moment of pleasure he lost the throne as well as his life. Again, why would a man do this to himself? The answer is choice. A Yoruba proverb says “the reason why two men don’t pool their resources together to marry a woman is because of differences in taste”. For Edward VIII, Wallis Simpson had a higher attraction than the throne of Great Britain; just like a momentary sexual bravado and debauchery had higher attraction for Amnon than the throne of Israel; and just like a pot of porridge was more valuable to Esau than his inheritance in destiny. But who are we to question the choices of these individuals? I got something wrong, though. King Edward VIII did not sacrifice his throne; he bargained it ; just like Amnon did almost three thousand years earlier; just like Esau did a few millennial earlier, and just like many will do this weekend in the name of St. Valentine Day, a day historically meant to celebrate wedded love, but now almost entirely devoted to consummate wanton lust. This weekend without counting the cost many will bargain away their destinies for a little pot of porridge. So, then, what’s the difference between a sacrifice and a bargain? It is that, whereas, a sacrifice is anything you give up willingly without expecting a return, a bargain is what you give up for the sake of another which ranks higher in your scale of relative preference. All of life is a bargain. Even the things we call sacrifices are actually bargains in disguise. We choose things which in our estimation are to be preferred above others. A man’s life is a combination of the choices he makes. This brings us to the concept of opportunity cost, which is the cost of something in terms of the most valuable forgone alternative. For King Edward VIII the throne of Great Britain was an opportunity cost. For Esau his generational inheritance was an opportunity cost. For many hapless souls, in this crazed season, their destinies will be the opportunity cost. Fools all through the ages have always chosen momentary gratification above an abiding and unending weight of glory. Much later, though, they seek with tears that which they had lightly esteemed. But it’s always too late. Someone rightly said, “He is no fool who loses what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose”. Sad St. Valentine’s Day awaits anyone who is aiming to celebrate and glamorize a hurtful lust. This is not a curse, but a statement of fact, supported by observed happenings in the recent past. Happy St. Valetine’s Day. Anyway. Bode Kayode Maxwell