Contentment – The $12 Principle

Have you ever sold books at Half-Price?  I remember my very first Half-Price experience.  I brought a brand new, never highlighted, semi-uncracked-spine, 954 page Anatomy and Physiology book that I had paid $300 for…and received $28 dollars in return.  A nice employee tried to explain the logistics of pricing, net worth, updated editions, and yadda yadda yadda – I left with an even $30.  In King James terminology, Half-Price did tithe unto me.

Let.  Down.

I’m not going to delve into the waves of embarrassment that I endured (suffice it to say, I got a little loud in the bargaining process), but I will say that it was a good five years before I entered into Half-Price again.  When I did return, it was with 227 books…Yes, I dropped TWO HUNDRED AND TWENTY-SEVEN books on the counter, expecting at least $100 back.  Do you know how much Half-Price paid me for my myriad of literature?  Hazard a guess.

You’re a genius if you guessed $42.

Major.  Disappointment.

Yet, $42 was far more than I deserved.  However valuable I imagined my used wares, the fact that I received anything for them was a blessing.  I wasn’t reading those books anymore, and my only other option was throwing them away (which, if my calculations are correct, would yield me $0…or £0 for my British friends).

Now I’ve developed something I call the $12 principle: whenever I take a load of books to Half-Price I set my hopes at $12.  I don’t care how many books I bring, be they psychology books, charismatic interest, slave narratives, the Vulgate – I hope for $12 and nothing more.  That way, however much I receive beyond $12 is supplemental, excess, a bonus, if you will.  Today I dropped off two boxes of books in exchange for $38…so hello extra, unexpected $26!

Now my $12 may not work spiritually, but Hebrews 13:5 certainly does – “be content with such things as you have.”  Or, as Paul told Timothy, “having food and clothing, with these we shall be content” (1 Timothy 6:8)

However I may regard and esteem myself, the reality remains – I am entitled to nothing.  Life itself is a gift, a grace dropped from Heaven; yet, I expect/demand/fight for more.  I get disappointed when those expectations aren’t met, and from disappointment flows discontentment.  I will always be discontent when life juxtaposes what I think I deserve and what I actually do deserve (and receive).  For God to give me anything is amazing.  I may desire more, that’s human nature since the fall, but I am highly blessed in whatever He gives me, wherever He places me, whenever He uses me!

BOTTOM LINE:  In everything I have to give thanks and be content.  Why?  Everything is a gift from God!

Helpful Scripture:

1 Timothy 6:6-11//Philippians 4:11-13

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