My father-in-law didn’t talk to me much, unless it was one of his two favorite topics, Martin Luther, or Martin Luther King. I never heard him talk about his work unless we went to the grocery store. He was in advertising sales – pre-internet – during the heyday of mailed coupons. His company, Advo, was the king of this concept with their flagship product reaching billions of homes with national and regional coupons – Mailbox Values (I think) it was called.
Coupons litter my mailbox, but sometimes one catches my eye. I respect the coupon mavens who save hundreds of dollars in groceries, but I find clipping and managing them to be cumbersome. (Unless the coupon is for cucumbers, then… it’s not too cucumbersome. GROAN…)
Statistically, American merchandisers create 293 billion coupons a year. We only use 2 billion – less than one percent get redeemed.
Redeemed. I’ve heard that word in church my whole life. Sang it. Experienced it. I’m very happy to be redeemed – are coupons? Is there any resemblance to the experience of redemption between people and these paper slips?
Here’s a secular definition:
Redeem – rĭ-dēm′ – transitive verb
1) To recover ownership of by paying a specified sum.
2) To pay off (a promissory note, for example).
3) To turn in (coupons, for example) and receive something in exchange.
(Definitions, etemology, roots, usage – my enthusiasm about words is shining out here…please roll with my ASD…)
I’m hoping to pay off the note on the Mini in a year or so. Jesus paid off my true debts. He has recovered me, gotten my true value for himself, and this is my best identity. I am His redeemed, as we all are who are in Christ. Paul said in 1st Corinthians that we are “bought with a price.” For me that verse has often sounded like “Bart with a price!” (I did use that as my name in children’s ministry in one church where we volunteered: Mr. Bart With a Price. They didn’t get it – but their parents did!)
It’s interesting to think about us being someone’s possession. I’m happy, except in my foggy moments, to know that I am his possession – his redeemed possession — instead of worrying about the worthless unredeemable possessions that I have gathered in this life. They are like coupons that are almost impossible to redeem. They cannot give me the satisfaction that I am looking for. BEING His redeemed possession is “living my best life.”
The difference between us and coupons: He is doing all the giving. Yes, he receives us, but what we receive is so much more valuable. We are getting the bargain, even though He is the redeemer.
We are so much more valuable than tiny cutaway pieces of paper. Autistic, neurotypical, old, young, any race, any earthly status…none of those are measures of our value. He paid it all, and we find our true value in being loved by a God – who could have spent his time doing something else. I’m glad he sat down with the Sunday paper and clipped me.