Bought and Paid For
You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. Revelation 5:9
“What do you want to get as a present for your swimming diploma?” I ask my radiant granddaughter of seven, who shows me after much effort the certificate she wanted to have so dearly.
“A ring,” she says without hesitation, “and I want to go to town shopping with you in order to buy the little silver charms for my bracelet chain. We should have done that already some time ago for my birthday.”
She is right. For various reasons, I did not have time to look for her birthday present together with her as I had promised. Now we kill two birds with one stone.
On her free Wednesday afternoon I take her out of school and the fun begins – grandmother and granddaughter set off on the adventure together!
“Do you have enough money with you?” she asks, just to be sure.
She herself has taken her little purse with pocket money too, because she wants to buy herself something with her own saved money.
We go to the first store to buy a ring. Emmy casts ONE glance at the first drawer, with rings for little girls, and points one out without any hesitation.
That would be the one!
“I have more rings to show you!” the saleswoman says.
“No, I’m sure!” she says, very confidently and leaves the payment to me.
In the second store, we must wait, and she gazes with wondering eyes, because this is an expensive jewellery store with rings for grown-up people and prices which are not child’s play. However, fortunately they have silver charms for a little girl’s bracelet (with adult prices!). The salesman spreads out a lot of little silver hearts, doggies, pussycats etc. on the counter. Emmy lugs a nearby chair over and kneels, viewing all the treasures.
“Three, I’ll get from you!” she already told me in the car.
“Oh”, I said, “but I was thinking I promised you one charm for your birthday. Is that not enough?”
“No”, she said, “because now there are four charms hanging on my bracelet and I am seven years old and so there ought to be seven charms. So, there are three to go! Right!” That’s true – nothing more to be said.
So, later on, I pull my purse out to pay for three charms.
The salesman is so kind as to solder the charms instantly on to the bracelet – we don’t need to wait till next week, and, happily, a small person jumps down from the expensive seat onto the thick shop carpet.
While we wait, she walks from showcase to showcase and views the adult jewellery.
“Is that expensive, Beppe?” (Granny in Frisian) she asks me and points to a large diamond. I tell her, “Yes, that one is priceless.”
“Don’t you have that much money to buy it, Bep?”
“No”, is my answer, “it is too precious.”
“What does precious mean?” she keeps asking.
“It is something which is very beautiful, or very sweet, and if you want to have it, it will cost you a lot.”
“So, you cannot buy it for me”, she concludes.
A few minutes later we walk back onto the street, her treasures safely stored in beautiful boxes in my bag.
“So, Bep, now we buy something nice for me.”
“Um, those charms and that ring, weren’t they nice?” I ask, confused.
“Yes, they are, but I also have MY money and I want to buy a present for myself in the toy store. There are NICE things. The ring and charms are PRECIOUS things.”
Right, I cannot get a word in edgeways!
In the toy store Emmy walks forwards and backwards, up and down the shop.
As directly and as confidently as she chose the ‘precious’ gifts at the jeweller’s, now she is hesitating and looking at all the tempting goods on display.
Eventually she succumbs to a monstrous, pink, plush horse, more than half a metre high and one metre long.
Enthusiastically she tells me this is what she is going to buy.
“Well”, do I say carefully, “would you have enough money for that?”
“Sure”, she calls out, “I have saved a lot and for a very long time.”
She is in the middle of the shop, on her knees on the floor, and she turns out her purse on the carpet. Fortunately it is not a thick carpet, because the little coins, which are rolling all over the place, would have disappeared in it. We count the money.
Oh dear, it’s nowhere near enough. With pain in her heart, she separates herself from the glitter and glamour of the appeal of the beast.
And then it happens!
She turns around and says to me, “I have already received so much; I will buy something for Hylke, Roan and Allard! Now, come on, Bep!”
In another shop we look for something nice for her brothers and her mum, and for her dad a bag of candy. And how is it possible, there is also some money left over to buy herself something! (Thanks to the adult - purse of Beppe!).
Completely happy, she gets home and enthusiastically she distributes everything to the family, while she calls,
“For all of you, I have a present – bought and paid for by me.”
This whole story reminds me of the temptations which people are exposed to. The NICE things in life that keep them from the PRECIOUS things that are vital!
It’s a fact that in this world there is someone who watches and seduces us with glitter and glamour! What an effort it costs us to turn around and to conform us to things that are more valuable.
Hesitantly, my granddaughter was also, for a moment, tempted by the nice things of the world. However, faultlessly, she chose the most precious things of life.
And therefore, she is, just seven years old, a great example for every Christian.
She even came so far that she pushed aside her own concern and decided to give away something of herself to others!
Like God did…
God pushed aside His own concern and gave the most precious He had to mankind – His own Son. In this way He could offer something to all people – Eternal Life!
Free and for nothing, because it is bought and paid for.
Wies Dijkstra - Spoelstra