A pastor friend and his wife, Paul and Dana, had been asked to move to a new assignment. They sensed God’s hand in the process and were excited about the future. But first of course was the move…every nomad’s nightmare. Three enormous piles begin to appear in the garage, remember? Take with. Give away. Throw away. Ruthie and I’ve done it enough times over the last half century that just describing it makes me somewhat nauseous.
One of the first decisions they had to make was about their high-mileage couch and accompanying loveseat. It had been nice furniture, but a couple of kids and their friends had changed all that. It was no longer a thing of beauty. Spotted. Sagging. Ragged. Even a good quality piece has a measured life span if used as a trampoline.
So, Paul and Dana talked and prayed and then made a budget-driven decision. The couch and chair had to be tossed. When they arrived at the new place they would shop frugally for this major set for the new living room. Dana figured the cost could run as high as $2,000. Paul responded that wasn’t reality; they needed to stay in the $500 range. They would not buy on credit. When they began shopping they discovered Dana was right.
But they found it. Perfect style, perfect color, perfect size, perfect match with the new carpet. It would fit like a piece of art in their new home. Price? Oops…$2,000. They’d have to keep looking. Disappointed, they soldiered on. Where does stewardship clash with beauty? Where does quality challenge budget? Nothing either of them liked showed up at their price point. They drove by the first store for another look, then went home.
Paul spent a restless night. As did Dana. They could not find the peace they sought whenever they faced a decision. Paul spent two hours in his prayer room asking that the price might come down to $500. After breakfast Paul suggested they return to the first store again. Dana wanted to know what good that would do. It would only make them feel worse that they couldn’t get the item they really wanted. Even if it were to go on sale for 20% or 50% off, it would be beyond their good judgment. And their check book.
But they went. The manager welcomed them and they told him they had found just the right item, but it was beyond their means. The manager went to look at the piece they described, then turned to them and said, “You’ll be interested to know that set went on sale this morning. After it’s been on our showroom floor for a while we mark it down drastically. When we do, it usually sells in ten minutes.” “What’s the sale price?” Paul asked wistfully. The answer, “$499.” “We’ll take it!” Paul and Dana replied together.
The couch and the loveseat look really nice in the new house. And every time Paul and Dana get a chance they’ll tell you the story about the miracle of the couch. And Paul may add this promise: “Open your mouth wide and I will fill it with good things.” (Ps 81:10 NLT)
By Don Jacobsen