Saturday, July 5, 2014

Worth Every Penny

"Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn't she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.' In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents."

-- Luke 15:8-10
Few things are as disappointing as buying a product or service that fails to live up to expectations--especially if it was expensive. For example, maybe you heard about a new gourmet restaurant that piqued your taste buds. You probably went online and checked out the menu, read some online reviews and even asked your friends and coworkers for their opinions. But when you finally arrived at the restaurant and were seated at the table, you quickly saw through the hype. The dining room was dingy, the waiter was rude and that $50 entrée was greasy and overcooked.

What a costly letdown!

Let's now contrast this unpleasant Pennyexperience with the anticipation of an expensive overseas vacation (maybe a cruise to the Greek islands). You first fell in love with the idea after watching a show on The Discovery Channel. Next, you visited multiple travel websites and spoke with some friends who had been there. Buying your high-priced ticket meant doing without on other purchases, but everyone promised you that the trip would be worth it. 

Finally, the day came when you boarded the ocean liner and reached your exotic destination. The islands were more beautiful than you ever imagined, the cuisine was superb and you even made friends throughout your adventure! Yes, the trip put a dent in your bank account. But the experience was worth so much more than mere dollars and cents.

Although the Bible offers us savvy advice about money management, it also reveals that some costly purchases are warranted. For example, there's Jesus' famous story about the Prodigal Son, where a loving father welcomes back his wayward--and totally undeserving--child, who had burned through his entire inheritance with outrageously wasteful spending. Christ also told His disciples about a man who sold all of his possessions to buy a field. And not just any field, but one that held buried treasure. Although the cost to buy the land was staggering, the man did whatever it took to gain the prize.

These stories are vivid illustrations of how God shows His love for us. The lesson here is that He'll go to any length to bring you and me into His family. Perhaps the most famous passage in the New Testament (John 3:16) tells us that God loves the world so much that He gave His only Son (Jesus) so that those who believe in Him will have eternal life. God let Jesus suffer and die on the cross to pay for all our wrongdoings--past, present and future. But unlike Christ, who lived a perfect, sin-free existence, we all rightfully deserve the death penalty for our lawlessness. But God's extravagant love instead offers us forgiveness and a fresh start if we're only willing to accept it.

Jesus willingly paid the ultimate price to save us from ourselves. And it was worth every penny.

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