The price of something that's truly lovely that will last is rarely at a bargain or free but is there an exception? How do we find it?

©Joy Dunlap

HALF-PRICE read the small sign above one rack in the classy women’s boutique. I couldn’t believe it.  My heart practically leapt in glee when I spotted a stunning dress for $333.  I could already imagine wearing it.

The price would be more than I’d normally spend on clothing, but I had a credit of $150 due to an alteration error they’d made on the only other item I’d ever purchased there.

That dress fit as if it was custom-made for me.  The color, the detail, and the overall design were perfect and timeless.

This would be one of the most exquisite dresses I’d ever worn – and I knew it would last!

Hair pulled back tight in a bun, the clothing sales consultant arranged the plastic cover over the beautiful dress to protect it.  I handed her my credit card and, just to be sure, asked,

“My $150 credit is being applied, right?”

“Of course,” she answered in a soft, genteel voice. “The $150 will be taken off the $888.”

$888?!  Shocked, I sputtered, “888 dollars?  I thought it was half-price.”

Calmly, as if speaking to a child, or a person not used to shopping in high-ticket item stores, she lowered her voice and responded, “It is. The original price was $1776.”

Fireworks were going off in my mind, but not because of Independence Day.  Seriously. The dress wasn’t even red, white, and blue.

Without my glasses, I’d apparently “seen” $333 instead of $888 on the price tag!

How embarrassing!  I apologized and explained how I’d obviously misread the tag.

“Even with the credit, that’s just too much for me to spend on one item,” I said.

With grace and kindness, she told me she understood as she handed my credit card back.

“Clearly I need to start wearing glasses while shopping,” I said with an awkward chuckle.

She smiled as I walked out the door empty-handed.

Sometimes we see what we want to see, or what we hope to see.  Sometimes our vision just isn’t clear enough to realize the true cost or value of what can be ours.

At times the price may be greater than what we personally can pay.  When we really think about it – isn’t it prideful to think that we as humans could possibly earn our way to heaven?  After all, God created the heavens and the earth and all that is in them.  God sent Jesus to sacrificially pay the debt for our sins – to cover the cost. Not half the cost.  Not part of the cost. The entire cost.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

Yet many misread “the price tag” and still try to pay their way to earn God’s favor and forgiveness, His peace and His joy – and their way into heaven.  But God’s Word makes the value – and the cost – and who paid it – clear to us.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.  Ephesians 2:8

Here’s one meter-reader: when we’re really in a committed relationship with God, we desire to stay in communication with Him and enjoy being around others who do; we delight in serving Him and His purposes; and we’re not ashamed to be associated with Him.

You were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. 1 Corinthians 6:20

That expensive and eye-catching dress in the shop may be out of reach, but God’s love isn’t!  His designer wear comes with an incomparable beauty that lasts. God covers us in forgiveness, wraps us in peace, fits us with purpose, and adorns us with the shimmer and sparkle of joy!  

  • What favorite item did you get at a bargain?
  • Have you ever misread or misunderstood something that caused you to be embarrassed? What was it?
  • When did you first hear that Jesus paid the price for your salvation?  How did you respond?
  • What in your life demonstrates to others (and to you) that you have the eternal life God gifted to you and the abundant life you have access to by trusting in Him?  (If you haven’t trusted in Christ, aren’t confident you have a personal relationship with God, or aren’t completely sure about what I’m talking about, please contact me.  I’d be happy to talk with you!)

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:16-17


Life is Better When It’s Full – Joy-full, Thank-full, Purpose-full and Friend-full! ™

*Scripture references are from New International Version (NIV)




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