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 Amazon.com 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.
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.
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!
1 Timothy 6:6-11//Philippians 4:11-13