Friday, December 7, 2007

Can you afford it?

The other day while shopping at a department store (which shall remain unnamed but rhymes with Belk); I found the most beautiful sweater. It was really soft, beautifully made and it was one of my favorite shades of green. I knew I had to have that sweater and fortunately for me I still had $100 of my birthday money left. When I reached down to look at the price tag, I almost fainted right there in the aisle. I am too young to go into cardiac arrest or I would have done that too. That sweater was $280.00. I looked at the hanger again and sure enough there was only one sweater there - I thought there might be three or four more at that price. No package deal there. That Lily Pulitzer sure is proud of her stuff! I got the feeling that people might be staring at me so, I shut my gaping mouth so that people wouldn't feel sorry for me (because my shock was very obvious) and moved on to look at things I could afford (things that don't cost as much as my house).

No matter how much money a person has, there is always something that is out of their price range. There is one thing that even a billionaire cannot afford. I know you may be thinking that nothing is unattainable to a billionaire, but there is one thing that even a billionaire cannot afford. What is it? Salvation. Our salvation is the most expensive thing ever invented in the history of the world. Salvation is something we cannot afford and something we cannot afford to take for granted. Our salvation cost the God of the universe His one and only Son. God owns everything, the Bible says ‘without Him nothing was made that was made’ (John 1:3), there is nothing that He cannot do, nothing He cannot create, yet He loved us so much He sent His only Son to be sacrificed in an inhumane, humiliating, excruciating way so that we could live. No, there is no limit to what our salvation cost God and it cost Jesus everything - grace is not cheap!

I think we look at our salvation way too carelessly. God gave up His darling son so that we, in all our ugliness and selfishness, could live forever. Not only will we live forever, but He made us joint heirs with Jesus. Yes, we make way too little of that cross. That cross is where our inheritance was sealed. What we deserve is what Jesus went through on His way to Calvary plus what He endured on the cross plus an eternity in a burning hell. We all deserve that (and I mean ALL). ‘None of us is righteous, no not one’. Can you imagine being beaten, naked and carrying that cross up that hill to be nailed to it by your hands and feet? Can you imagine standing before Jesus, the judge, and hearing ‘Depart from me, I never knew you’? Makes me cringe to think about it.

You see, our salvation is given to us in spite of ourselves. In spite of our sins (big sins/little sins) God has given us mercy and grace. I think of grace in this way: Pretend you have very little money and your family is hungry. You go to the grocery store and place milk and bread in your cart. When you get to the check-out line, the clerk rings up your sale and says “That will be $6.78”. The problem is that you only have $1.50. While you are standing there trying to figure out how you will feed your family, Jesus taps you on the shoulder and says “Here is a coupon for $10 off everything you purchase today.” Grace is our coupon or ‘get into heaven free’ card. It cost God His son, it cost Jesus everything, but it costs you and I (who the Bible calls the vilest of offenders) nothing. I guarantee you that if someone came to me and gave me that Lily Pulitzer sweater for free, I would be forever grateful. God gave His son so that I could have eternal life ABSOLUTELY FREE, yet I take that fact for granted everyday. We value tangible, visible things while we devalue the Jesus who lives in our hearts. Romans tells us that "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord". It is highly unlikely that there will be a reduction in the wages of sin, so we should be forever grateful for God’s free gift of grace.


Earen said...

Oh, I'm so thankful for the Lord's salvation, but I think you're right in that we take it for granted..I don't think we'll ever fully grasp all He's done for us until we reach Heaven, but I'll sure keep trying.

Darla said...

came over from Steph's. Love your blog, and sista you are so right how our salvation is not earned or paid for...Grace is free! And it looks good on us too.

280$$$ for a sweater...I would have cried that I couldnt get it, and then cried that I even thought about it! I am a cry baby! LOL

He Knows My Name said...

were you planning on going to san antonio in august? refer to frans wonderful pic of her beloved tickets.


BethAnne said...

I wish I were going in August, Janel, but with a new house and my son starting school, I didnt think the timing was right for me to go this time. I did see Fran's tix and am very jealous (in a Godly way of course!) :-)

Stephanie (Ocean Mommy) said...

We talked about this in Sunday School this morning. Here's what was on the bored when we walked in.

G od's
R iches
A t
C hrist's
E xpense

I don't ever want to "get over" what Jesus did for me on that cross.

Thanks for this post!!


Fran said...

I loved what Steph wrote about GRACE. Yeah, we cannot ever get over what He did for us. We must thank Him daily for His awesomeness. It is just too much, sometimes, to grasp. That is His beauty though.


jennyhope said...

I love your heart. Seriously you are such an encouragement (old lady boob stories and all)!!! I would have died over that price?!? do you have a pic of it? also I cant come up with a store that rhymes with belk. the people in the mall are the "maam let me show you something amazing" hand and nail and hair straightening people. I wonder if General Growth owns your mall?

Alana said...

Wow, that is one expensive sweater. I think I would have been like you and been wondering what was included WITH the sweater. Too funny!

Love how you tied this in with the one true priceless gift.

BethAnne said...

I dont know who owns our mall, but Belk is the main dept store in it. I do not have a pic of that sweater, but I do know that some animal must be nekkid because of it. It was made of some kind of wool - might have been from royal sheep as much as they are charging for the thing - I cant even afford it if it were on sale! Do normal people just drop $280 on one sweater? I might pay that for 15 sweaters, but not for one.