TV is awash here in Ireland (and the UK) with shows in which people (expert or amateur) hit the streets, markets, fairs or stores to find items (usually retro or antique) that they then try to sell at a profit in auction rooms. I love these shows. But that isn’t what this is about.
All to often a person will glimpse across the room and see something they love the look of. It might be 100 year old coffee grinder, some 300 year old table or a 40 year old plastic chair from germany, but it will be something that sparks there curiosity and there ‘want’ to own.
After approaching they see the ticket price and it’s crazy high. 200 for the grinder, 900 for the table, 99 for the chair.. when the grinder is rusty and stained, the table is water marked and riddled with wood worm and the chair was one of millions and covered in scratches.
So the dealer offers a deal. The buyer is so blown away with the bargain they never, (hardly) stop to ask, how much is this actually worth? If I saw that grinder in a charity shop.. 10? 20? That table.. 250? The chair.. 20?
But the seller is offering 30% off! Wow… and at they point they choose to spend twice as much as it’s worth.
It happens all the time.
This, I feel, is like what happens to many of use when we are looking for some form or label or pattern to our expression of faith. Some people, (I was one), don’t even go looking for bargains. We are actively sold one. Told we can’t make do without coffee that comes fresh from your own labour each morning.
I was introduced to Jesus. I didn’t go looking.
Jesus, I was told, is the answer to all your problems. You can be the BEST you, live your BEST life, IF you live THROUGH him.
The best me? Best life? Man, I best that coffee smells amazing, I’ll bet that table is handy for light meals, casual brunches AND dinner parties.. and my butt is going the THANK ME for getting that chair.. and you know what? I’ll be able to pass these life changing experiences on to my friends!
I didn’t step back and ask myself why or what cost. Like the guys on the TV I didn’t look for a makers name, or ask when or where is was created, I didn’t check the quality, I didn’t look to see if it was stolen or simple made from various are pieces.
I accepted it at face value.
Now, I watch these guys on TV and I’m screaming, ‘That’s probably close to FREE in a thrift store.. shop around!’.. but the item isn’t what they are buying, they are buying the experience, the little white ticket hanging there on string makes it seem more expensive, the location of the item next to costly shiny things makes it seem valid and true.
The truth is off course, in the realm of faith, in the genre of relationship, you do not have to filter your expression through anyone. You don’t need Jesus. You don’t need a priest.
As a single human being.. you are open to a pretty amazing deal.. a freebie.
God is right there. HE isn’t shiny. HE isn’t standing by the Turner to make Himself look legitimate. He doesn’t have a white paper ticket. There is no price.
There is only you.
The awesome thing, (one of the awesome things) about the Torah.. is that most of the super important stuff to do with you simple being you, about you learning how to be a better person and about how God views you is found pretty close to the front.
We are all born equal. A body and a soul. We are all born with an ability to create. We are all born with an ability to choose. We are all born with the ability to love and hate.
We mess up. That’s human. We sin (honestly, there is so much baggage for this word)… which also means mess up. That is also human. BUT God says, own it. Repent. Apologize. Move on. Be a better person.
WE get to engage with the Creator for Free and all that guilt, worry, fear, sadness and angst we buy through our own mistakes or through what other people impress on our lives, we get to give that away to Him. Prayer, repentance (which really means apology) and a simple 180 degree turn towards Him if we are pointing away, sets us back on the path.
You don’t need to filter your feelings. You don’t need to give up a part of your expression of faith to buy into jesus (or any other middle man).. When you are the child and God is the parent there is no middle man.
So, next time you are looking for a bargain ask yourself if you really need it and if you are paying more that you need to because if you blindly accept and never ask ‘why’ or ‘how’, that’s on you.