I’m a sucker for a bargain. Sales, Charity Shops, Second Hand Book Shops, Church Fund-raisers fascinate me. I can’t wait to get my hands on a Bargain Stall catalogue. My shrewdness is on trial. Can I tell the difference between treasure and trash?
Could it be there is something of the bargain-hunter in most of us? It feels good when a minimum out-put has yielded a maximum in-take. Some of my most treasured possessions are bargains I have acquired over the years – for me it is useful books found in second-hand stores. The fact that they are bargains has increased their value to me. I could never have afforded to pay their retail price.
This leads me to reflect that God offers to me the greatest of all bargains – eternal, unimaginable happiness with Him in heaven. The price, that I should accept Him as my Lord and live according to His will. Eternity following upon the relatively short life-span of no more than a hundred years in His service. What God asks of me is not a life of drudgery and frustration. Far from it! Did not Jesus say that He had come that we might have life to the full, life, which is a loving response to His infinite love for us?
Satan, the father of lies, suggests to us the great deception – God’s offer is fraudulent. Satan would want us to think that we are being conned into submission to God. His line is that the price we would have to pay is not worth what we would get for it. God is not in the business of offering bargains. Satan would want to convince us that it is better to hang on to what we have of our own rather than look to what we might get from God.
It is the supernatural gift of faith that has made me into a shrewd bargain-hunter – much like the man who finds a treasure buried in a field or the one who comes across a magnificent pearl. Both find it worthwhile to stake all they have in order that they may possess what they desperately want.
Our Lord Himself raises the question, “What will anyone gain by winning the whole world and forfeiting his life? For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels and then will reward each one according to his behaviour”, (Matt 16.26)
This is the greatest sales-pitch ever! It renders meaningless the old adage, “You get what you pay for.” Pay little, expect little.
My Bargain Store Catalogue has put me in line for reaching God…my way. Life with Him, even now, and forever, comes at a bargain price. My very self, my immediate and eternal future are to be pledged in the faith-decision that I have freely chosen to make.
No gambler has ever played for higher stakes. No gambler has ever had my kind of absolute certainty that this is the right thing, the only thing, for me to do. But then, I am no gambler. I am a believer who reaches God by my putting complete trust in Him without the slightest fear that I may be mistaken.
Quite literally God offers to me eternal life, not at a bargain price, but at a give-away price. I would be a fool not to grasp it.
Peter Clarke O.P.
Next week Peter will meet God through a piece of cake.