Tuesday, November 3, 2009

87 cents and lessons from Ephesians 5

We Christians are supposed to be imitators of God. It says so in Ephesians, plain as day.

Ephesians 5:1
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.

We are beloved children, and we're supposed to imitate our Heavenly Father. Luke tells us that we are to be rich toward God - not focused on laying up treasures for ourselves, but on living a righteous life, in response to God's great love for us. We shouldn't even talk about sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness, nor should we partake in filthiness, foolish talk, or crude joking - they are out of place. Instead, we should be thankful. Once we were children of darkness, but now we are children of light.

Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.

I went shopping yesterday, trying to please the Lord (AND MY HUNGRY FAMILY - who were whining and bellyaching that there was nothing to eat in the house. You have to realize that anyone taller than me in our home has a hollow leg, and is very hard to fill up. When they claim there is no food, they are ignoring the carrots in the cupboard and the rice in the rice cooker. They want easy, quick, filling food, like peanut butter or ingredients for pancakes, which are neither easy to make nor quick, but are better than carrots, apparently).

We were out of EVERYTHING... not that there was no food in the house, but we were lacking in flours and nuts and oils and baking powder and rice cakes and meat and veggies and tea and coffee and pickles. All the important things were missing.

I shopped and shopped. Bought all the necessary flours at Country Bulk. Spent a ton of money at Food Basics. By the time I got through Zehrs, I was exhausted, hungry, and feeling the pinch of a woman who just spent over 600 of her hubby's hard-earned dollars on FOOD - that was going to go in one end (of the kids) and out the other.

I watched as the guy rang my groceries through, making sure they packed my meat with the meat and my frozen veggies with the rest of the frozen veggies. I have OCD - I can't help that I am crazy about how my groceries are packed. Just as the last four items were being rung in, I glanced up at the computer screen and read, "Tuna - .87".

Six cans of tuna for .87! That's a good deal. But I knew better. My mind flashed the truth at me. I knew that the only tuna I bought was a 6-pack, and it was worth well over $4.

I hesitated for a moment. The cashier rang the last couple of items through, then announced my total.

I said, "There was a problem with the tuna fish."

"A problem?" he inquired, and the packer dug into the bag to get the tuna.

"Yes, check the tape," I replied. "It rang in at 87 cents, but it was six cans."

Cashier dude determined that one of the cans had turned in the wrapper, and the computer had picked up the individual price, not the bulk price of 6 cans in one package.
15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
I was tempted, momentarily, to be foolish. I was tempted to ignore the mistake and unwisely choose to rejoice in my good fortune of getting 6 cans of tuna for the bargain price of .87!

Lessons Learned

1. Little Things Matter. After all, I could have said, "it's only a couple of bucks." But the Bible tells me that he who keeps the WHOLE LAW and yet offends IN ONE POINT is guilty of all. It mattered to God that I told the truth. It mattered to Zehrs that I paid the full price.

2. My sin nature is ever present. The temptation was real. I felt it, and I knew immediately that I had to fight it. I must always look carefully how I walk, making the best use of my time. I should never take part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.

3. God's standards are higher than ours. As the heavens are high above the earth, so are my thoughts than your thoughts, and my ways than your ways, declares the Lord in Isaiah 55. He also says as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he. I thought about stealing, so I am a thief. It's just as if I stole the tuna.

4. God is watching. He knew I would see that price error. He allowed me to be tested, for His good purposes.

5. God is Sovereign. I wasn't really watching the computer, but I believe He caused me to look up just at that moment, just in time to see the eighty-seven cents.

6. God is good. Not only did He allow me to see the error, then understand the temptation to sin, then choose to "walk in the light", He made me rejoice in the prompting of the Holy Spirit. He made me thankful, again, to be a Christian.

. . .be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.
I am blessed to be a beloved child of God, filled with the Spirit, walking in the light. I know that He loves me and walks with me every step of the way. I give thanks that He orders my steps and reminds me of my need of a Saviour.

Most of all, I am thankful that Jesus took on my sin and bore the penalty of it all in my place. It was as if He had stolen the tuna. He paid the price for it. But not only that, He exchanged my sinfulness for His righteousness. I will stand before God one day, and it will be as if I had never sinned. I am clothed with the righteousness of Jesus. I am pure and clean in the sight of God.

You can't get better than that.


  1. Yeah, very good. Everything matters.

  2. Wow...what a lesson to learn from tuna! I can appreciate the temptation, too. Watching the prices go into the computer is a habit for me - more to ensure that I am not overcharged. Would I have handled the temptation in a godly fashion? I can only pray I would!


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