On Bargains…

I rode away with my new-to-me love seat stowed in the back of the minivan, crowing about my enormous good fortune to my son. Not only was it an exact match for my sofa I bought used a few years ago, it was a fraction of the cost I was willing to spend!

I almost felt guilty it was such a good deal. Almost.

That love seat pulled together my whole living room exactly how I wanted it and right before family arrived for Christmas. All fall I’d tried and missed in my efforts to source pieces (that’s decorator speak for find cool stuff) on online marketplaces.

My frustration had grown and given in to despair. I was settling and felt that was the best I could hope for, but then someone got tired of their love seat and wanted it gone. What a score!

Over the next week, and even now, I’m rather stunned at God’s timely provision for something so unnecessary to life as a well-arranged and beautiful living room set up. Food, clothing, shelter are the necessities…not nice food, nice clothing, and nice shelter.

God proved Himself, again, as a very personal God who is able to arrange some truly wonderful gifts when it seems good to do so. It seems that He cares for me and my wants along with my needs. He doesn’t always give me what I want, but He knows my wants as sure as He knows my thoughts from afar.

I got to reading Isaiah 9 and God likens the people’s joy at the coming of the Savior as to the joy when the harvest comes in and as when people divide the spoils. Literally, that is times when the profit comes in. Times when the warehouses are full from a year or season of hard work.

He’s talkin’ about payday, y’all. Dividing the spoils would be like finding valuable treasure or getting something for nothing. Or…a bargain?

I get this one. I love a bargain. How I love a bargain. I often check myself in conversation because I’m prone to bragging about the bargains I have made. I get this enormous joy from a good deal.

The paradox, though, is that I am not a bargain when I think about my life as a Christ-follower. This Light came into the world, His name is Jesus Christ, and He spent Himself completely–paid an enormous price–for me and people like me who are most definitely not perfect.

On the face of it, it stands out as an all-time bad deal. Why would He spend so much on me? And, why would He be so happy about it?

I rejoice over a good deal, but God rejoices over what appears to be a pretty bad deal. I  have nothing to offer. The moment I think I do, I’m like that person trying to sell some used earrings for what you can buy them for new. I’m a fraud who isn’t living in reality.

But this bad deal for Him is such a good deal for me that I can only accept and give thanks. Gratitude and love and obedience to such a God is about all I can respond with and its enough.

Oh! And with all good, truly great, bargains–I can tell everyone I know not to miss out. It’s not bragging on myself, because I did nothing!

If I can talk so extensively about my love seat deal, how much more I want to remember that it’s not the best deal ever. There is a better deal in life with Christ that is truly worthy of talking about any time there is a chance. Why wouldn’t I want to?

Haha…and answering that question is so important and has so much potential to change a life, it must be considered.

Why wouldn’t I want to tell someone about Jesus like I tell them about my sofa?

 

Reflections on a Fisherman’s Hands

Rough, tan, scarred, mangled, tattooed. I imagine the followers hands. Working with nets and knives for a living does that to hands…I imagine.

I’ve fished a few times in my life. In lakes, in stock ponds, and in swift streams. That’s the fun part, the holding the pole and the waiting. The bite and the haul. But then comes the blood and the guts. The descaling. The cutting.

Fishing for men is much the same. It’s exciting and fun at first and then it gets messy. The task of the fishermen after the haul is dirty and requires skilled hands that want hard work. Hands that are willing to get messy, willing to get slashed by a sharp knife. I’m not sure I understood that part of fishing until late. It’s a messy job, this fishing. I’m a messy fish myself. Others have dirtied themselves in my life.

Hearts are sick…including mine…who can understand the twists and turns? Certainly not I but that is only my excuse to not get messy. Not a good reason to bow out of the battle. Not a good reason to jump out of the boat. Am I willing to reach into the net and grasp the fish? To wield the knife? To have it wielded on me?

And that tattoo. I love that tattoo. The mark of a life lived hard. A brand of one who understands the dark side of life. Here it means gang life or time in prison. I was branded for the other side til He fished for me. In many ways I still bear the marks for all to see.

I’d like to think they have to look hard…but I don’t think they do. But…isn’t that the beauty of grace?