I found a *great* price on something expensive I needed to buy on the internet. It wasn’t a discretionary purchase but something I had to get sooner or later. It wasn’t advertised. I just stumbled on it. It was going to save me *a lot* of money so I was feeling pretty good about myself in that Proverbs 31 kind of way. I was a good shopper, a wise consumer, a bargain hunter.
But it was still going to cost a lot of money and being a wise consumer, I needed to check a few things out before I purchased it. Meanwhile, every few days I looked to make sure the deal was still there. Then everything was all set and my credit card was ready to take the charge. I put it on my daily to-do list but the day came and went and I never got around to it. Then another day and I still didn’t get to it. No problem. I just moved the “buy x” item to the next day’s to-do list. In the morning I checked the deal. It was still there but it was time to go to work, and I decided to buy it later during a break.
Six hours later when I went to buy it, the price had gone up. And not just a little, but a lot. The deal was gone. I couldn’t believe it. I checked again. Yes, the deal really had disappeared. I got an awful sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. Then I found a phone number and called the company and asked them what happened. They shrugged. The price had changed. I wailed [mostly to myself] “But six hours ago it was *a lot* less.” They wouldn’t budge.
I felt sick at the thought of the money I hadn’t saved. Jack was gracious about it. I still felt bad. “If only I had bought it in the morning. If only I hadn’t procrastinated. If only I could turn back the clock.” I don’t know what the opposite of Proverbs 31 is, but I that’s who I was. Not a clever shopper, but a slacker, a procrastinator.
The next day, I spent some time with God and reflected about it. I wondered if I needed to confess something. Had it been wrong to procrastinate? Did losing this great deal separate me from God in any way? The answer was no. My failure to make the purchase didn’t harm my relationship with God. If I paid $50 or $5000, there was nothing wrong between us.
But then I realized losing the deal could damage our relationship because I was tempted to blame God and become bitter. It was very easy to say “Why didn’t You save me, why didn’t You nudge me to buy it at 9 instead of waiting until 3? Doesn’t the Holy Spirit live in me? Don’t You love me? I thought You could do anything.” I was ready to accuse Him of failing.
And there was another way it could threaten our relationship, if I listened to the Accuser who was eager to beat me up about it. “Why weren’t you listening to God? He would have warned you if you had been paying attention. Why did you procrastinate? You know better. You’re a bad, weak person and you’ll never amount to anything.”
I thought about those two temptations for a while. I reflected on how chasing deals to save money can be a form of enslavement. I can fall into the trap of having my happiness depend on saving money. There’s nothing wrong with finding a good deal , but it does matter how I view it and what priority I give it in my life. I want to be a wise and thoughtful consumer. But I need to watch out that I don’t turn that into an idol or a point of pride.
Then I read some scripture and reminded myself that God is beyond the things of this world: deals, bargains, savings. He keeps me in perfect peace if my mind is steadfast because I trust in Him. Not because I won [or lost] the lottery of the week.
I am thankful that God never changes and that His ‘price’ is always the same. There’s no bait and switch with Him. No limited time offer. His grace is always there for me. Great savings every day of the year.
Now that’s a deal.