March 12, 2017


I went to “All-a-Dollar” for sunglasses. At first I grabbed a basket, but as I roamed the aisles looking for sunglasses, I saw a number of items I wanted. Suddenly it was important to pick them up. I bought some bowls to replace my cracked and chipped set. I saw a dish scrubber exactly like the one I have that is wearing out. I needed a paring knife. One of the Cub Scout activities calls for ping pong balls, and I added each of these items to the basket. It was getting heavy, I still hadn’t found the glasses, so I changed to a cart. Then I purchased some potting soil and pots just to begin until I buy a lot of potting soil. I finally found the sunglasses near the front of the store, but I had headed north instead of south, so I found them last.


I paid one dollar plus tax for that pair of sunglasses, but it actually cost me twenty dollars by the time I checked out. I’m not sorry I bought the items I did, but I felt a little foolish for letting the cheap price and cellophane wrap entice me to buy more than I came for.


The whole world wants us to buy something. That’s how we make our living and how we have a house full of conveniences. I go on Face Book and see ads enticing me to see a video guaranteeing me that I’ll lose my wrinkles. Or a line of exercise wear. Or a new gadget that peels hard boiled eggs. Mostly I have learned that it’s best to skip over the ads, no matter how intriguing the intro: “The three common foods you must never eat!”


It’s not always safe even to hesitate over an item, clicking on it for a look, because they take my info and come back with efforts to have me change my mind.  The ads are the price I pay in order to keep up with people I care about. It’s kind of like the Princess who finally found Prince Charming. She said, “I’m thrilled to have him, but I sure had to kiss a lot of frogs!”


I’m sure most of us have realized by now that “here’s no free lunch.” There really is a cost and consequence for everything we do. When duty took me across the street to visit a shut-in who had just moved in, I got the consequence of meeting a delightful friend. I visited with pleasure until she died. But that “lunch” wasn’t free. It cost a real effort to go the first time.


The thought that we can get something for no effort or price can lead us to tawdry results, if not to larceny or to becoming a victim of fraud. Those warnings we see of still another scam that’s costing people their retirement, their good reputation, or some other very severe consequence are wise. If we convince ourselves something too good to be true is true, probably only our regret will be true.

paring knifeThat paring knife I bought at the dollar store is not going to hold its edge very well. It is worth only the dollar I paid for it. However, there is one “free lunch.” Jesus Christ gave everyone ever born endless life after death. We can’t get out of it. It’s inevitable. The quality of endless life, though, is somewhat up to us. In other words, we get a free life, but we must try our best to give thanks for that gift by living our life here as honestly, generously, faithfully and lovingly as we can. Goodness doesn’t purchase freedom from trials and sorrow while we’re being tested on earth, but the service I freely give to others and the ready sympathy and understanding that I offer influence my level of peace and joy in that free immortal life Jesus purchased for me. PMA