What do a clearance-priced area rug and the old rugged cross have in common? Really nothing at all, but how they contrast is another story. Learn how the purchase of that rug reminded me of the ultimate price paid for my sins...and yours!
Women be shopping!
I love a good deal! I’m all about the clearance racks of my favorite stores – Dillard’s, Target, Hobby Lobby… Recently, Emily (my daughter and partner in crime) and I went on an impromptu shopping excursion. We each had a couple of things we were looking for, but were mostly going for the outing. The mailman had gone to watch some drag races in Denton, and when the man’s away…women be shopping!
As we were driving the fifty miles from home to Abilene, we determined that our first stop would be Target. More specifically, Starbucks within Target. Our local Target finally joined the rest of the civilized world, adding a Starbucks in their recent remodel, so now it’s the best of two worlds.
So, we got there, ordered our flat whites and, with our $5.00 coffees in hand, began perusing through the newly remodeled store, literally moseying up and down each and every aisle in the store. PSA: Did you know there is only like a 25 cent difference in a grande and venti flat white? I’m so going for the gusto next time! It’s a much better deal.
finding the great deal
Anyway…because we were looking at all the things, we ended up in the outdoor furniture section. For whatever reason, I happened to look down to see a very large rug with a red price tag attached to it. (Prudent Target shoppers know this means a potentially VERY good deal. Of course, I have seen not-so-good deals, but one must at least look.)
Because I actually was on the lookout for a new rug for our bedroom, and this particular rug was perfect for our new color scheme, I had to at least see what the price was. I could hardly believe my eyes when I got closer to that lovely red tag!
I showed it to Emily. “Is this real life?” I asked. But then, “Wait! That is too good a deal! What’s wrong with it?”
Upon closer inspection, I saw those two very suspicious, and potentially ominous words, “As Is.” Well, that settles it, folks! There’s something wrong with it. I knew it was too good to be true.”
About that time, Emily spotted a red shirt (that’s code for Target employee when paired with khaki pants…usually).
“Excuse me, ma’am,” I began. “I noticed this rug is marked down considerably and the tag says, ‘as is.’ Could you tell me what’s wrong with it?”
She explained that the rug was an online purchase, and that the customer had purchased three different rugs of the same size online, but didn’t like any of them. Because it was “online only” and was returned to the store, the policy is to mark it down significantly until it sells. She went on to point out that the rug was still wrapped as it was shipped to the customer.
Emily and I exchanged a look. “Will it fit in the car?” I asked.
Emily said, “We could put both seats down and slide it between the front seats. If the trunk won’t close, we can bungee it down.”
She is DEFINITELY my daughter! Mind you, I drive a Chevy Impala, and this rug was 9X12 ft, rolled up at 9 feet.
The sweet Target lady laughed and said, “I don’t think it will fit. Is there someone you can borrow a truck from?”
Well, the mailman was gone in his pickup to Denton, so…No. No deal today.
After much discussion, we decided we would leave the rug there and go back the next day to pick it up. Nice Target lady said she would put the rug in the back with my name on it and hold it till closing the next day. And we left.
change of plans
After we had finished the remainder of our shopping, and while we were enjoying dinner on the patio of a local Mexican restaurant, I announced, “Let’s just go back and make that thing fit in the car. I don’t want to come back tomorrow.”
Of course, Emily agreed (because we really do think alike), and we headed back to Target to fetch the rug. Now, there’s a whole ‘nother story that I could tell you about the picking up of that particular item, but I was not my best self, so I will save that saga for another lesson.
Being the two determined and stubborn women we are, we made that bad boy fit in my car…with room to spare! Of course, I’ll most likely never get all the carpet fuzz out of my car, but everything comes with a price.
We hauled it home, unloaded it, and settled in to binge watch a series we had begun.
I failed to mention at the beginning of this story that installing that lovely new rug meant I would be required to repaint my bedroom, as well a rearrange the furniture. I’ve had the paint for quite a while, but could never muster up the gumption to move my mammoth wardrobe and bed to do the deed. Now, of course, I had to because…well, the rug!
As I drug out my painting supplies, Emily suddenly remembered she had to go dye her hair or something, so she conveniently exited. Just the night before, she said, “Let’s paint tonight!” Which, of course, we didn’t because we were watching TV. Now, she’s outta here! Oh, well!
Within a few hours, I had completely repainted the entire bedroom, cleaned up most of my mess (I refuse to use tape or a drop cloth), and mostly rearranged the bedroom. It was time to roll out the new carpet!
I texted the mailman to see if he could leave his cave to come in and help me with this task. Our bed is quite a beast, and I wasn’t entirely sure how this deal needed to go down anyway.
He quickly responded and came in to help. He’s awesome that way.
rolling out the new carpet
As we carried the rug into the house, I’ve gotta admit, I was filled with excitement mixed with a touch of anxiety. Remember “AS IS?” Those two words could still mean disappointment of epic proportions. I had no idea what I would find as we rolled out that rug. There could be a great big hole or stain in the center for all we knew. The moment of truth had arrived.
After a bit of wrestling (with the rug, not each other), we got the rug rolled out and had placed it just right under the bed. There might have been some words uttered during that 30 minute period that would make some people blush, but we got it done.
Guess what?!? That rug is spotless, without flaw! It is absolutely perfect! And our bedroom looks and feels brand new! What a deal!
just as I am
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist or a prophet to figure out where this is going. As I finished up in our room that night, hanging pictures and placing knick knacks, those four words kept running through my mind.
Just. As. I. Am.
I bought that rug AS IS, not knowing what I would find inside. There was a 50% chance that it would be messed up, or 50% that it would be awesome. I was willing to take the risk because the odds were pretty good, right?
But, Jesus. Jesus bought each of us at the ultimate price – His life! The kicker is that He knew what we looked like on the inside! He knew I was a hot mess! You were a hot mess…
Now, in human terms, that would’ve been a deal breaker! But not on God’s terms. He was willing to pay the price for us, even knowing that some of us would reject Him. Some of us would accept Him but be so stiff-necked that we couldn’t, wouldn’t follow. ALL of us would struggle with and wrestle against and succumb to sin.
Yet He did it anyway. Willingly. Lovingly. No strings attached.
That, beloved, is the deal of a lifetime!
the rugged cross
I’m not gonna lie…every time I walk across that lovely new rug, the words of that age-old hymn play in my mind.
“On a hill far away stood an old, rugged cross. The emblem of suffering and shame. How I love that old cross, where the Dearest and Best, for a world of lost sinners was slain.”
And in the words of that beloved old song, I do cling to the old rugged cross. But even more, I cling to my Jesus. The One who was willing to pay full price for me…and you…even though He knew we were flawed.
“but God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinner, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8, ESV)
Thank you, Jesus!