“The Price Is Right!” (Romans 5:8)

At 6’ 5” inches, Jake always stood out in a crowd, literally, and he did it with style. No matter the weather, he wore a silk vest. Whether it was adorning a dress shirt, a pull-over, or a tee-shirt, a vest accompanied his ensemble. As he once told me, “It’s my thing!” 

Jake was one of my laboratory assistants with lofty ambitions.  In addition to his eclectic fashion sense, his thing was trying to start his own business and he boasted to many people in the laboratory about his burgeoning catering business. He certainly created some tasty dishes and he would often bring samples to share with co-workers in the laboratory. He was good and had potential but some of us were uncertain whether he could scale it up to a true catering enterprise. 

When November arrived, he stopped by my office and gave me a flyer. “Hey Doc! I don’t know what your plans are for Thanksgiving but we are going to be smoking a turkey with all the trimmings. I would really like for you to try it.”

I was in an awkward position. I didn’t want to insult my co-worker but I had not yet planned my thanksgiving menu. I thanked him for the flyer and discussed it with one of my partners who I was planning to invite to my home for Thanksgiving. 

“What do you think?” He was reviewing the same flyer I had been handed. 

“The price is right! Can’t believe how cheap it is! You can’t even buy a turkey for this price and he is going to smoke it and give us all the trimmings.”

I shook my head. “I know, right? Let’s help him out.” We both agreed and the next day I told Jake that he would be preparing our Thanksgiving meal. He was elated and told me, “Thanks Doc! You won’t be disappointed!”

In the days leading up to Thanksgiving, he would stop by with samples of sweet potato pie and other dishes he was working on. I was optimistic and I invited two other couples to join me for Thanksgiving. We agreed to have the meal delivered by 2PM. 

On Thanksgiving day, my guests began arriving at around 1PM. I served cocktails and appetizers to this jovial group as we looked forward to a smoked Thanksgiving turkey. At 230PM, I nervously looked at the clock and reassured my guests. “He is probably having difficulty finding my place.” Another half hour passed and I called the number he had given me on his flyer. No answer. I tried again a half hour later and continued several additional times. In an era before cell phones, all we had were landlines and I had no other means of communication. Three hours later, I received a call.

“Hey Doc. Sorry, we ran into trouble. The place where we were going to smoke the turkeys didn’t let us in so we had to scramble and find another place with ovens. Don’t worry, it will still be good.” I mumbled, “Sure Jake. Just please hurry, we’ve been waiting for four hours.”

Finally, six hours after the meal was promised, he arrived. The turkey and stuffing were dry and cold and the gravy was watery. He gave us a package of generic store bought dinner rolls. He then paused thoughtfully and declared, “The dinner rolls are on me for all the trouble I caused.”

All of my guests politely smiled as we ate our meal. Our thanksgiving that year was not ruined but it definitely was not the feast we had anticipated. My same partner sighed and whispered to me, “You get what you pay for.”

We are sometimes pleasantly surprised when we get more than we initially anticipated, but this seems to be the exception, not the rule. Is there any situation when our expectations are exceeded, when the price that we pay is far less than the cost?

But God proves his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 (CSB)

Jesus Christ died on the Cross and paid the penalty for our sins. He endured torture and humilation so that He could conquer death by being resurrected by God, the Father. He paid the awful price. All we need to do is confess and repent of our sins and accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. 

The price is right…for us. The staggering cost was the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. 

Thanks be to God’s grace and mercy for all mankind.

Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.

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