Do you know what a wooden nickel is? Well in certain thrift stores you can buy one and it allows you to get a discount on any purchase you make from then on. Just show your wooden nickel. My wife has one on her key chain. My grandson has one and probably his mother as well. They all haunt thrift stores. I’m not complaining, just “sayin”. Half my shirts came from thrift stores and they’re all nice. Amazing what people throw away.
Then there are the coupons. My wife and daughter go foraging two or three times a week, depending, I guess, on when sales start in the stores. She has a special bag she puts her coupons in and takes with her when she shops. Those coupons come from off line, local magazines and coupon books. There is a gentleman my wife likes to give grief to who brings her the weekly newspaper ads from his newspaper that she uses as well (he does a fairly good job of returning the grief).
When they come home from one of their forays into the market place the receipts come out and an accounting is made. They are so skilled and deadly in their ability to shave, literally dollars, off the bottom line that I actually feel sympathy for the merchants they deal with. I think to myself, “They can’t keep losing money like this!” often see grocery receipts where the bottom line end up being twenty-five percent of the actual total of over a hundred dollars, price tags from a department store where using double and triple coupons, the price for an article is pennies and not dollars. It’s kind of like Scrabble with its double and triple letter and word points for increasing your score, and my wife is veerrry good at Scrabble.
Why doesn’t everyone shop like this? I think it may be nothing more than a matter of convenience when you get right down to it. Maybe too, it could be image. You know, being a cheap-skate, penny pincher, tight-wad. Where did those images come from? Didn’t they use to be being frugal, thrifty, knowing values and being good stewards of hard earned money?
So where am I going with this? I don’t know, but maybe there is a God lesson to be learned.
We live in a huge market place and the products available to us are seemingly endless. They have glitter and appeal and skillful marketing stirs up our “I want it” juices. Someone convinces us or we convince ourselves that we should have whatever it is even if there is no need or usefulness or real satisfaction in having it. And that can happen even knowing that the deal is a bad one, the price one we can’t really afford. We can give undeserved value to some things, some folks, devalue things and folks that are deserving.
The Word warns us that this world and all it offers, though enticing, it is… well, all that glitters is not gold. And that same Word is the ultimate coupon book.
If we are willing we can open it up, and should, with the same eagerness we would in our worldly search, search it out for the coupons that apply to every aspect of our lives, every deal that comes along and enable us to negotiate the market place in such a way that we come Home with valuable, imperishable possessions, crowns to cast at the feet of our Lord, our Father, hope and peace in these times, in return for the gift He gave that we could not pay for no matter how many and what combinations of coupons we collected.
And would that not please the Father, bring a smile to His lips as He says “Well done good and faithful servant. You have been a good and trustworthy steward of what I gave you and now here is more. Well done.”
I like to poke fun at my wife and children over their love of a good deal. But beneath that fun making lies a respect and admiration for that quality in them and their unashamed living it out that I believe is in conformity with the way Abba wants us to be.
Our Father will recognize them one day and following the advise concerning the virtuous wife I will:
“Give her a share in what she produces;
let her works speak her praises at the city gates.
let her know:
“Many women have done wonderful things,
but you surpass them all!”
Father, bless and keep us.
May Your love be in us all.