One day I stopped at a local housewares store. I had been there a few times before and knew the selection of dishes was a bit spotty. But sometimes they stock sturdy American-sized drinking glasses [not the six to eight ounce sizes that are popular here].
Then I saw this serving bowl.
There were two things that drew me to it. First, I loved the beautiful but simple design in my favorite color. The bowl was Portuguese porcelain, thin and yet heavy. Second, when I looked at the tag, ten dollars seemed like a great price, even a “too good to be true” price. And I love a bargain almost as much as I love a beautiful everyday object.
It was only then that I fully grasped the meaning of the store’s French name, ‘Direct Usine’–which translates as ‘Factory Direc’t. Now in defense of my cluelessness, the store doesn’t scream factory outlet [well–except for the name ] It’s on a major shopping street in the city, not thirty miles out of town surrounded by dozens of other factory outlets. It’s stocked with first quality merchandise, not seconds and cast-offs. The price tags show one price. There are no markdowns, no $75, now $20. There are no 50% off signs. In fact, I’ve never seen a ‘sale’ sign anywhere in this store.
When I got home with my beautiful bowl, I looked it up online, curious to see what the regular price was. [What kind of person does that, you wonder? A bargain-loving infomaniac]. It turned out the bowl originally sold for ten times what I paid for it. I hadn’t really saved 90 dollars, because I doubt I would pay that much dollars for a humble serving bowl. However, not only was I happy about the bowl and about the cheap price, I was now happy to know that my ten dollar bowl was worth a lot more than I paid for it.
So what do you do when you find a beautiful bargain? My first impulse was to tell friends who come to the house, “Look at this amazing bowl–and guess how much I paid for it? Almost nothing.” My second impulse was to let friends know about this great factory outlet, especially those who are new to town and just setting up house. Frankly, it’s a little selfish to keep it to myself.
Living in a developing country with spotty distribution, I have told friends when I have discovered barbeque sauce, not on sale, but *for* sale. I’ve done the same for Philadelphia Cream Cheese and cheddar cheese. Other bargains I pass along include our honest, cheap mechanic who often tells us, “No that part doesn’t need to be repaired, not yet.”], and our first-class frame shop.
This week, I’m also telling people that the ebook of Walk with Me is only $1.99 After all, what are friends for?
Jesus is another beautiful bargain I want to pass on.
God put the world square with Himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what He is doing. We’re Christ’s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them. We’re speaking for Christ Himself now: Become friends with God; He’s already a friend with you. II Corinthians 5:18-20, The Message
That’s what the woman who Jesus met at the well did. After she and Jesus were finished with their conversation, she went into the village telling people, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did: could this be the Christ?”
Why would I keep the free gift of God’s grace to myself? How can I keep quiet about something so marvelous? What could be more natural than sharing that I found the love I was looking for? “Listen, I have some good news. Come and see.”
“You’ll remember friends, that when I first came to you to let you in on God’s master stroke, I didn’t try to impress you with polished speeches and the latest philosophy. I deliberately kept it plain and simple: first Jesus and who He is; then Jesus and what He did: Jesus crucified.
I was unsure of how to go about this, and felt totally inadequate–..But the Message came through anyway. God’s Spirit and God’s power did it, which made it clear that your life of faith is a response to God’s power, not to some fancy mental or emotional footwork by me or anyone else.” I Cor 2:1-5, The Message
What about you? Who do you want to invite to come and see what God can do?
edited from the archives