July 23, 2013
S&H Greenback Stamp Redemption
“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: ‘Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.’ He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit,”(Galatians 3:13, 14 NIV).
Friend to Friend
If I think about it long enough, I can almost taste the sickly sweet glue on the tip of my tongue. Yes, the childhood ritual of licking and sticking S & H Greenback Stamps into books is forever glued in my memory’s scrapbook.
When I was a little girl, my mother did her grocery shopping at White’s Supermarket on the corner of Tarboro Street and Pearl. Oh sure, there were other grocery stores around, but White’s gave out S & H Greenback Stamps with every purchase. On shopping days, I watched as the cashier rang up my momma’s purchases, pulling a lever with each entry. My mom’s eyes lit up every time she heard the cha-ching, knowing that meant more stamps. When the total was tallied, the cash register spit out a stream of stamps, both large and small. We never put the stamps in books right away. Mom stuffed them in a brown paper bag and waited until we could make a whole day of it.
About every six months, mom pulled a brown bag swollen with S & H Greenback Stamps down from a shelf. She spilled its contents on a table and announced, “OK Sharon, it’s time to paste the stamps.”
For hours it was lick, stick, lick, stick, lick, stick. Large stamps represented dollars spent and only three filled a page. Small stamps represented cents spent and 30 filled a page. I liked doing the dollars.
After six months of collecting stamps and six hours of pasting them in the books, my mom and I excitedly drove down to the S & H Greenback Stamp Redemption Center. With arms heavy laden, we plopped our day’s work on the clerk’s desk.
“Whatcha goina get?” I’d ask as we strolled up and down the aisles of house wares.
“I don’t know, honey,” my mom would reply. “But it’ll be something good.”
After much consternation, mom would decide on a treasure such as an electric can opener, or a steam iron, or a shiny set of stainless steel mixing bowls. Oh, it was an exciting day to make a trip to the S & H Greenback Redemption Center and trade in our stamps for a special prize.
Have you ever noticed there are some Christianese words we repeat often, but have difficulty explaining? I think redemption is one of those words. But as a child, because of my visits to the S & H Greenback Redemption Center, I understood “redemption.” It meant to trade something in for something else, to take my stamps and trade them in (redeem them) for a prize – for something valuable. And that’s exactly what it means.
Jesus Christ traded in His life to redeem mine. Listen to what these two passages have to say:
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: ‘Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.’ Heredeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit, (Galatians 3:13, 14 NIV).
For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect, (I Peter 1:18,19 NIV).
Jesus traded in His life so that you and I could receive ours. To Him, you and I were the prize – the treasure. But that’s not all. He’s made it possible for me to do a little bit of trading as well. I’ve traded in my pain for purpose, my hurt for hope, my mess for my message, my worry for trust, my soul sickness for spiritual health, my shame for forgiveness, my captivity for freedom, and the list goes on. What an abundance of treasures – much more valuable than an electric can opener or set of mixing bowls.
Dear Lord, thank You for redeeming me! I have traded in my mourning for laughter, my weeping for rejoicing, my sickness for healing, my guilt for freedom, my sin for righteousness, my fear for faith, my weakness for Your strength, my insecurity for Your boldness, my inadequacies for Your supply. What a deal!
In Jesus’ Name…the One Who made it all possible,
Now It’s Your Turn
Do you need to do a little trading of your own? Do you need to make a trip to God’s redemption center?
What would you like to trade in today? Click over to my blog page and tell me at least one negative you are trading in today. Feel free to list as many as you like.
More from the Girlfriends
You ready to do a little trading? My book, Your Scars are Beautiful to God: Finding Peace and Purpose in the Hurts of Your Past, will show you how to use what you’ve gone through for good. Friend, don’t waste your sorrows. God has a perfect plan for you to turn the ashes of past hurts and mistakes into a thing of beauty.
Click here to find out more about
how to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
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Originally published Tuesday, 23 July 2013.