Tips for Life
by Alan Bailey
After the Christmas rush comes another rush: the New Year sales. Doorbusters as they are often called. I don’t go to them but I see hundreds of people on the TV news literally breaking down doors and almost trampling others underfoot to get at bargains inside some department store.
Once in there, the frenzy is on in earnest. People push and shove and fight and struggle to snatch up clothing, grab household goods and line up to pay for them. Some items are torn or damaged in the fray. Some people are even hurt. Clearly, people love bargains.
A way of life
Shopping for the best price is a way of life among us. Who doesn’t check out supermarket prices, comparing stores and comparing products? Getting the most we can for our dollar seems the sensible thing to do.
How many of us keep our eyes open for the cheapest petrol, even preferring the service station that has a price a fraction of a cent lower than its rival?
Getting a bargain, or a series of them, makes us feel good. We feel like winners. No-one has taken us for a ride; we have used our heads and come out on top. (The seller may still have made a good profit, however, so he feels good, too.)
While getting our detergent at a good price is great, so often we lose badly elsewhere — most of the time just through neglect.
What counts most? It is life’s values, its relationships, things of lasting worth.
Many of us give scant attention to these. No wonder there are so many sad hearts and sad homes all around us. We have preferred the things that don’t last and in the end don’t count for much. What a poor bargain we have struck!
One of the most difficult questions ever asked goes like this: Will a person gain anything if he wins the whole world but is himself lost?
Jesus asked that question and He also made it clear that ordinary, everyday people are lost. Lost to God; lost forever because of our sin and neglect of Him.
Even to get possession of the whole world (which is utterly impossible of course) and to remain lost is to have an appallingly bad bargain.
The best of bargains
The greatest bargain of all concerns an exchange. If you like, a swap. We give our great load of sin to God; He gives us His own rightness and forgiveness. No payment is demanded. The payment has already been made.
It was like this: God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us (when Jesus died on the cross), so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians chapter 5, verse 21). Jesus took our sin and paid the price it demanded. Now, forgiveness and freedom can come to us as a gift.
Having Christ means having everything. That is a bargain.