Who ever thought the thrift shop would be in style? With his ridiculous ode to secondhand shopping, Macklemore has the hottest song in the country, a horn-heavy homage to the greatness of Goodwill shopping.
Seems secondhand stores are bigger than ever. Besides general thrift stores like the Salvation Army, specialized consignment shops are popping up everywhere paying top dollar for used clothes, DVDs, cds, and books. Even big businesses like Best Buy and Toys R Us are now giving away cash instead of taking it, buying back old video games and Blu Rays.
Just the other day I put together a pile of movies and books cluttering up my shelves and headed to the local thread of thrift stores in Augusta. I rode into parking lots pumping Macklemore’s hit on my speakers, expecting to walk into the store with twenty dollars in my pocket and walk out with a secondhand swagger, or at least with twenty more bucks in my pocket.
I ended up just keeping most everything I brought in as I saw the trade-in value come up on the screen when each item was scanned: 75 cents, 15, cents, 10 cents, 5 cents, 1 cent. How could a DVD that cost $15 have a trade-in value of just a penny? The stores didn’t even want some of my movies, rejecting them out right.
And then I remembered this always happens. I build myself up with dreams of easy money from trading in my unwanted things. Instead I walk out feeling cheaper than ever, the collectibles I valued so much now deemed worthless.
It’s embarrassing, too, having to take the walk of shame out of the store carrying my collection I brought in, now just a pile of rejects.
I feel the same sort of embarrassment sometimes when I come before God.
God too is in the trade-in business. He is always looking to buy back what we have to offer.
In Matthew 4 Jesus comes upon a pair of fishermen named Peter and Andrew. He calls on them to trade in the tools of their trade – their boat, their nets, their hooks, the way of life they had built for years.
Jesus says to the seafarers in verse 19, “Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Jesus tells Peter and Andrew if they are willing to trade in the life they have built, He will give them a life infinitely more fulfilling.
In a world where the value of our thrift store trade-ins continues to plummet, God’s offer is enticing.
When I look at my life, I don’t see much value. I see the imperfections. I see the depreciation 27 years on this earth can bring about on a human being. I’m embarrassed to come to the counter and lay what I have before Him, thinking there’s no way He’ll want any of this.
God does not see things the way I do. God does not look for the scratches on us like the employees at Gamestop look for them on a used disc. God does not look for the holes on us like an employee at Goodwill might look for on a used blouse. God is not looking for perfection from those He asks to join Him.
God uses prostitutes, alcoholics, liars, cheats, thieves, and sex addicts. God accepts them all.
God traded in His one and only son’s life in order to buy back ours. He accepts whatever we have to bring to the trade in table. All we have to do is walk in the door.
You will never find perfection in yourself. You will only find it once you trade in your fishing net and your boat and everything you are attached to in your old way of life.
Stop trying to clean yourself up before you trade your life in. You don’t have to. He’ll take you as you are, and give you more value than imaginable.
His trade-in offer is always available to you. Ask yourself what you have to lose, and come to the trade-in counter to ask Him what you have to gain by giving it all away.
What are you holding on to that you don’t want to trade in? What are you trying to fix before you come to God? What’s the best bargain you’ve ever found at a thrift shop? Leave a comment below and join the conversation: