My husband has wanted a Jeep for years. I mean YEARS. It never really worked out before but recently we decided give it a shot. I found one on the internet that had just about everything we wanted. There were only a handful “Copperhead Pearl” Jeeps within a 250 mile radius from our house and this one was 4WD, had low miles and a starting price we thought we could work with. So a few Saturdays ago we took a 3 hour (one way) road trip to the dealership to check it out. I tried to field our kids’ excited questions about what we were doing as Micah looked it over. The test drive was quick but fine and we decided to try to proceed with the purchase.
If the dealership couldn’t or wouldn’t hit that mark, we’d walk away.
The next part of car buying is what I absolutely hate. I know hate is a very strong word but it is totally accurate in this scenario. I hate negotiating prices on cars. So I don’t. I sit back and let Micah do it. He’s pretty good at it (it helps that he negotiates contracts With his job…and don’t ever try to debate with the man. Just don’t.) It also helped that we’d done our homework. We checked out what similar Jeeps were going for. We looked up trade-in and wholesale values on our car. Most importantly, before we left our house earlier that morning we had agreed upon a target price range and that if the dealership couldn’t or wouldn’t hit that mark, we’d walk away.
So my family and I were waiting in the little office cubicle of our car salesman that fine Saturday afternoon when I started to get amused with his tactics. It seems car salesmen have no authority anymore. They always have to run the offers by their manager. They are basically middlemen (or middlewomen, I guess…I’ve just never personally seen a car saleswoman. Hmmmm). He wrote down our first offer then disappeared for about 10 minutes. He came back with some papers showing car auction prices and a counteroffer. He took a minute or two to explain the counteroffer, which we basically laughed at (silently and not rudely, of course). This was where our trade-in homework came in handy. We countered their counteroffer but he didn’t run away quite so quick this time. Instead he started some small talk. Then he let us know he was just stalling. Evidently his superiors frown on quick negotiations and want them to really haggle to get customers to pay as much as possible. After a few minutes of chit-chat he disappeared again and stayed gone a solid ten minutes. At this point I pictured him in the other office trying to convince some “manager” to accept our offer…then I thought, nah, he’s probably just biding time in the other office too, wanting to make us think he’s pulling out all the stops trying to make this deal work. He came back with another counter to our counter to their counteroffer, lol. This was at the top end of the original target price range we’d wanted but Micah wasn’t done. He “final dealed” one last number (right in the middle of what we really wanted) and after a few more minutes of stall-tactic small talk, Mr. Car Salesman went away again to take our final offer to the Grand Sales Fairy for approval. Thankfully that dealership was stocked with some pretty awesome snacks and drinks because my minions wouldn’t have been quite so cheerily cooperative through the ridiculousness of the whole thing were they not.
Mr. Car Salesman went away again to take our final offer to the Grand Sales Fairy for approval.
As we drove home in our new (to us) Jeep after we got some real food at IHOP, I thought back over the happenings of the day. Normally my stomach gets all tied up in knots at the first hint of confrontation, let alone full-on negotiations. I seem to attach my own self-worth to whatever my angle is, to the point that I take the rejection of my idea or my offer as an all out whole rejection of me personally. Don’t know why I do that and I’m sure it’s not healthy. This time hadn’t been as bad though and I believed it was because Micah & I had started with a take-it-or-leave-it mentality and we’d stuck to our guns together. (Together is always better when you have to stick to your guns.)
But more than that, I contemplated this concept of worth and value. It really is relative. Take auto sales, for instance. Say an auto is in reality worth $XXXXX on the standard market. One buyer would pay that amount because the price was accurate and fair. Another buyer might pay more for the vehicle because of a personal preference or sentimental attachment (think classic cars here). And yet a third customer might not even consider a second glance at the vehicle because it wasn’t a make or model they preferred or maybe someone they knew had a bad experience with one like it in the past. Then throw actual financial ability and supply & demand into the mix and you have an entirely new set of outcomes. Just because one thinks something was worth the cost doesn’t necessarily mean they could foot the bill. Or, sometimes people are forced to pay higher prices for goods when demand is greater than supply. Through all the variables, one point remains the same: both the seller and the purchaser must agree upon a purchase price or the transaction will never happen.
When I consider what that means spiritually, I am left totally amazed. Amazed that when the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit counted the value of relationship with what would be a fallen creation, they considered us worth the ultimate price of redemption by Divine Sacrifice that the lowliness of our sin and the holiness of God’s nature demanded. I’m sure there was no stalling on one part or the other, no hesitation in pretense for show of a good deal or in reluctance of a bad one. There was no threat to walk away in abandon because our price was too much…a price we, as the redeemed, had no control over. And not only was the Godhead willing to pay, but also completely capable of paying in full the total price to secure us completely. And on top of that, the sinless, Beloved Son was the ONLY One who ever could pay such a price! It’s all mind-boggling.
He decided to purchase us before we were formed, before we even had a chance to prove our worthiness.
However, the most perplexing part remains. He decided to purchase us before we were formed, before we even had a chance to prove our worthiness. You see, Ephesians 1 (my fave chapter in the Bible) tells us that we were chosen in Him, adopted as sons and accepted in the Beloved BEFORE the foundation of the world (see verses 4-6). Then in 1 Peter 1:18-21 we’re told that Jesus was foreordained to redeem humanity BEFORE the foundation of the world but was purposefully revealed at a specific point in history for our sakes. There are other “before the foundation” references you can study out; they end in Revelation telling of the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. It all boils down to the fact that before we could ever screw anything up, He picked us out as His own. What amazing, unfathomable love that He poured out for us and on us! Our Redeemer, the Divine Interface, Fully God and fully man, the One and Only Begotten Son, is forever at the right hand of the Father interceding for us as the Mediator of the New Covenant.
Know this: you are not a used car. You are not in any way second-hand goods. Just. No. The King of Heaven saw you in the timelessness of eternity, even with all your short-comings and flaws, and knew you were a pearl of great price to Him. Your value to Him will never deteriorate with imperfections or diminish over time. In stark contrast to the finite middleman example the Baldwins encountered a few weeks ago, Jesus has the holiness of deity to require a high price for redemption AND the nature to afford such a cost AND the authority to settle the deal. Our Divine Middleman would literally go to the end of the earth, to hell and back, in order to secure you as His own. And that’s exactly what He did.
For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time…
I Timothy 2:3-6 NKJV