It was the fifth day of our vacation in Dallas, and the agenda for the day included stopping in as many thrift stores as we possibly could.
There’s something fun about a hunt for unexpected treasures,
but it’s funny how our idea of “expensive” changed when we had our mind set on price tags displaying anything less than $2.99.
I guess it shouldn’t have surprised me, then, when we debated the cost of Jesus.
Yes, that’s right.
Luke found Jesus in the back of thrift store –
high on shelf,
nestled in a box.
Jesus wasn’t alone either.
He was accompanied by His empty tomb and an angel,
but the price still seemed a little high.
It’s kind-of a surreal moment when you find yourself standing in the back of a gigantic thrift store halfway across the country from your own home, and you realize you’re actually contemplating whether or not Jesus is worth the cost.
He gave His life for us and yet here we stood, staring at the price tag as if Jesus were asking us to lay down our life or something crazy like that.
It’s not like I’ve never stood at a crossroad before counting the cost of Jesus,
but on this particular day it was a sticker on a box that made me second guess my willingness to pay the price.
And something about this struggle was so convicting.
I carried Jesus around in my cart for the rest of my time in the store.
I even had myself photographed with the treasure.
I can’t really explain it in words, but everything about this particular day changed once I had Jesus right there with me.
Why can’t He feel this real every single day?
Every once in a while, I took the box out of my cart and studied it closely.
At one point, I felt a rattle inside that made me wonder if maybe hidden behind the tomb were the rest of the Easter morning characters shown in photographs on the back.
And the two guys from the road to Emmaus.
Curiosity got the best of me, and I took the box to the front of the store and asked an employee if he could cut the tape and let me look inside.
For some reason, I thought I could justify paying for Jesus if I got a little bonus behind the empty tomb………………
Oh Tammy, don’t you hope for these kind of “Jesus bonuses” in the real world way too often??
I felt a little like Elijah in the cave, but God was definitely speaking to me in a whirlwind not a whisper.
There was nothing subtle about the point He was trying to make.
The employee was so sweet.
He carefully cut the box open, and together we looked for any unexpected treasures behind the plastic rock.
There was nothing.
Except a plastic stand for the angel.
We put everything back in the box, and I continued shopping…………
with Jesus, of course.
I just couldn’t bring myself to leave Him on a shelf.
I’m embarrassed to say that as I moved through the store, I had the brilliant idea of looking Jesus up online to see what He was worth on eBay.
Tammy, is Jesus’ value really found in what others are willing to pay for Him????
God, please forgive me.
The truth is, I don’t think I could sell Jesus no matter what the going price may be.
Once you have Him, it’s hard to let go.
I found myself totally freed up to the pay the price, though, when I realized Luke really wanted Him more than I did.
As a future youth minister, he saw Jesus as an action figure very cool and special.
Suddenly, buying Jesus so that I could give Him away felt right.
When I think about it, isn’t that what Christianity is really all about…………
Counting the cost in hopes of sharing what we have with others.
Some things are just too good to keep to ourselves.
Once I knew I was buying Jesus to share with someone else, the cost didn’t seem to hold me back.
I happily strolled through the store knowing Jesus had a purpose greater than my own happiness.
I thought this was the gift –
Finding Jesus so I could give Him away.
But, wouldn’t you know God had yet another gift for me????
As I went to the counter to pay, the sweet girl who was ringing up my purchases accidentally pushed the wrong button on the cash register and had to call for help to clear something.
Up to the front came the very guy who had helped me look behind the tomb earlier.
I smiled and said something about not being able to leave the store without Jesus, and that’s when I heard Luke say,
“His name is Nick!”
Right there on his name tag was the name of my sweet boy in Heaven.
I think I scared him when I said,
“Oh, please don’t think I’m crazy, but can I take your picture with Jesus?”
I even had him hold up his name tag.
By this time, I’m pretty sure Luke and Olivia were inching their way toward the exit,
but I had them come back when I decided I needed my picture with Nick and Jesus too!!
As I finished paying, Nick said,
“I have to ask what is special about my name?”
Our laughter seemed so wrong as I explained that I had lost my 13 year old son to brain cancer and his name was Nick, and that’s when I told him and the people in line behind me,
“But Jesus and the empty tomb are the reason I can still be happy.”
I then asked Nick if he would mind being on my blog, and he even handed me a piece of paper so he could get my blog address!!
what a day!!!
What a glorious day!!
We had set out that morning in search of unexpected treasures, but we never dreamed we would come home with Jesus in the car!!
Life is just like this if our eyes are wide open!
God is waiting to surprise us, teach us, speak to us, and go with us.
If we’re just willing to count the cost……………….
“Jesus, you’re worth it!!!!”
I hope you’ll say that today!
I haven’t had many words this summer, but I feel them coming back and I’m excited!
I love you all so much!
And Nick, if you read this, please leave a comment!!!
I’d love to hear from you!