Has anyone ever tried to buy you? If they did, how much would you say you were worth? I know this is a random question and in the day and age of human trafficking being at an epidemically horrifying level, I in no way mean to make light of buying humans. I have a worthwhile (pun intended) point. Stay with me.
On one of our trips to a 3rd world country we were wandering around a local market with our son, Jakeb, and daughter, Anna. They would have been about 17 and 11 at the time. Soaking in the sites and smells off the beaten path – that’s how we like to travel. As we passed through the market a guy selling rice and bean or something called to us and said, “Hey!” The guy looked straight into my ignorant and innocent mom eyes and in his broken English, asked, “How much for them?” Then came the cocked head, squinted eyes and furrowed brow… Huh?? My brain went into overdrive but nothing was rising to the top. I laughed it off and we went on our merry way but it haunted my spirit. It dawned on me later that he was more than likely asking me how much our son and daughter were so he could traffic them. That incident has always left me very unsettled. Why would anyone want to buy someone else’s kids and what about us looked like WE would want to sell ours? Aside from the grave issue of human trafficking, I joked with them later that I should have asked him how much he was willing to pay.It still all makes me sick to my stomach. Of course, I never would have sold them. They are worth far too much to me.
Are you a bargain hunter? I am. I love a good clearance sale. I have always enjoyed the process of bartering. It’s a game that I can usually win. (As I type that it makes me sound very shallow and arrogant.) Bargaining has been going on since the beginning of time. It’s how we humans roll. We bargain for everything from spices and fabric at the market to houses to love. In our world, pretty much everything has a price. It always has.
My first memory of bargaining was as a young girl in Mexico. I think I was probably 16 or so and I wanted that pink sombrero. My dad told me I could get it if I could get them down to a certain amount. Whatever amount it was, it was cheap. We had so much fun. I even remember the ones selling the sombrero laughing. I think they enjoyed watching my little skinny blonde headed self ruthlessly try to pay as little as possible for something. I ended up getting something really pretty for much less than I should have paid for it. I won.
Fast forward a few years to another time and another place – The Silk Market in Beijing, China. We were told how to bargain from a friend who used to live there. Boy were we glad we knew how to play this one! We could never have figured out on our own and would have left frustrated and empty handed. “Hey lady! Hey lady!” the shop worker would say. “You so handsome!” She said to my husband. Then when we didn’t buy the socks that he clearly did not need because he had some on his feet and well, his foot is American sized and the socks were clearly not American sized then she would say, “You not handsome no more.” We still laugh so hard about this place. What a trip. Nobody really won here. It’s just a funny story.
On the flip side, I got 6 gorgeous Chinese decorative calligraphy brushes and several other little trinkets for the price I wanted by walking away from her rigged calculator and waiting for her to yell back at me, “Ok! Ok! Ok!” in concession. I win again.
Now in Nepal, a couple of years later, I find myself bargaining wth a shop owner for a really pretty patchwork skirt. As you do there. I immediately felt sort of sick and hit the pause button on my game. I realized that how much I was trying to get her down from was $2 USD. A beautiful skirt for $2 USD. Really??? How ridiculous am I? I walked away with the skirt and left her more than $2 USD. We both won.
On that same trip, my husband had a fun time with a shop lady. He wanted a shirt that she had but it was long sleeve and he wanted short sleeves. Before he could change his mind, she laid it out on the floor and started cutting the sleeves off. We laughed so hard! I guess we’re committed. We bought a yak hair? blanket and a couple of other things and left her with probably more money than she normally made in a month. Don’t think too highly of us. It was probably less than we would spend on a normal fast food dinner. Everybody wins again.
Switching it up…
Do you sometimes feel like a commodity? Someone who was bought and is being used like a slave? That may sound a bit harsh but I know there are those out there who feel this way. Or maybe you feel like the pink sombrero. You felt wanted but you settled for less than your what you are worth? The bargain of the day on the clearance rack. You are not the pink sombrero and you are not the cheap calligraphy brushes.
You are neither a commodity or a bargain. You are highly valued and bought for a high price. The highest price, as a matter of fact. You were bought with the very life blood of Jesus.
“For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.” 1 Peter 1:18-19
I’ve struggled with a phrase that everyone seems to be saying these days, even Brene’ Brown (whom I highly respect), “You are enough”. I don’t believe that. I just don’t. I can’t. I want to believe it and I get where they’re coming from and I know it’s said with the best of motives and intentions, but it’s simply not true. I am not enough. If I were enough I wouldn’t need Jesus.
“Don’t be mistaken; in and of ourselves we know we have little to offer, but any competence or value we have comes from God.” 2 Corinthians 3:5
God initially created us to be enough but Adam and Eve messed that up. And we continue to mess that up. We don’t deserve a thing. We don’t. If I listen to everyone tell me that I’m enough, then when I realize I’m really not, it sends me into a tizzy (as my Mom would say). The truth about it is that I’m not enough for my kids. I’m not enough for my husband. I’m not enough for my parents. I’m not even enough for me! Thinking we’re enough is a trap. It traps us into feeling like we need to be perfect, that we need to perform well and please everyone.
In all of this, do not for a second listen to the enemy whispering, “Listen to her saying you’re not enough. You are worthless.” Oh, please don’t hear that. This is not meant to discourage but to encourage. I want you to experience freedom in the truth that in ourselves, we will never be enough and we don’t have to be!
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
Not meaning to stir up controversy or put words in anyone’s mouth but I think what those who use the phrase “you are enough” are all really meaning to say is not that I am enough but that I am worth it. I’m not enough but I am highly valued.
You aren’t enough but you are worth it. You are highly valued because of whose you are. You are the $2 skirt that He paid $5 for. You are the shirt that He paid a month’s wages for. Jesus didn’t bargain for you. He bought you back and paid way more than the going rate.
Has anyone ever tried to buy you? Jesus absolutely did!
How much are you worth? You are worth dying for.
Won’t you accept His purchase price today?
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
“For whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.” Romans 10:13