by Alan Bailey
I never cease to be amazed that so many people can spend money so freely after the expensive lead-up to Christmas. But the New Year Doorbuster sales, as they are often called, are a powerful temptation. People love a bargain. We see on TV hundreds of people breaking down doors and almost trampling others underfoot to get at the bargains in a department store. Once in there, the frenzy is on in earnest. People push and shove, fight and struggle to snatch up clothing, grab household goods and line up to pay for them. Some items are torn or damaged in the fray; some people are hurt.
A way of life
Shopping for the best price is a way of life among us. Who doesn't check out supermarket prices, comparing stores and comparing products? Getting the most we can for our dollar seems the sensible thing to do. How many of us keep our eyes open for the cheapest petrol even if only a cent or two is involved.
Getting a bargain, or a series of them, makes us feel good. We feel like winners. No-one has taken us for a ride; we have used our heads and come out on top.
It is amazing how we can go through life deceiving ourselves so successfully. We may get our detergent at a good price but then we lose badly elsewhere. Just through neglect most of the time.
What counts most? It is life's values, its relationships, things of lasting worth. Many give scant attention to these. No wonder there are so many sad hearts and sad homes all around us.
We have preferred the things that don't last and in the end don't count for much. What a poor bargain we have struck!
A tough question
One of the most difficult questions ever asked goes like this. Will a person gain anything if he wins the whole world but is himself lost? Jesus asked that question. He also made it clear that ordinary everyday people are lost. Lost to God; lost forever because of our sin and neglect. Even to gain possession of the whole world (which is of course impossible) and remain lost, is to have an appallingly bad bargain.
The best of bargains
The greatest bargain of all concerns an exchange. If you like, a swap. We give our great load of sin to God; He gives us His own righteousness and forgiveness. No payment is demanded. The payment has already been made.
It was like this. God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us (when He died on the cross), so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God (1 Corinthians 5: 21). Jesus took our sin and paid the price it demanded. Now, forgiveness and freedom are offered to us as a gift. We are wonderfully brought into a right relationship with God, and the amazing thing is that we don't deserve it.
Having Christ means everything.
His sacrifice is a free gift to us. Now that is a bargain!•