by Oran Burt
Our daughter went on a trip to Branson, Missouri, during the summer after her high school graduation in 1990. She traveled with a friend and her parents. The girl’s parents often referred jokingly to our Jenifer as their adopted daughter.
As they shopped around in flea markets and antique shops, Jenifer was astonished to find her old Holly Hobbie lunch box from her elementary school years. She found two, actually; one was Strawberry Shortcake, and the other was Holly Hobbie. They had both been hers — her name scratched into the paint–positive I.D.!
We had sold those here in North Little Rock in a carport sale for about 50 cents each. Originally they cost about $3.95 each. But now, in an antique shop, they were very much in demand as collectibles and were priced at $17 each.
Jenifer only had a few dollars to spend, but really wanted them. Her friend’s dad began to try to talk them down in the price, and in the discussion said, ?this is our adopted daughter…? and the shop owner was a bit touched it seemed and came down to a price of $9.00 each.
Jenifer had enough to buy only one, and chose Holly Hobbie (I would have chosen Strawberry Shortcake, but in reality, my chromosome 14 should not have allowed the original sale; it must have been a weak moment).
When she came home sporting the lunchbox, I was amazed at the story. I am perplexed that the other lunchbox is still out there somewhere.
Doesn’t this sound familiar? Lost and found, sold and bought back, redeemed, ransomed — all common threads in the story of mankind.
Some of the elements of the story do no match the story of lost humanity. Our original owner, God, did not sell us. But through Adam, we all are subject to sin by our own choice.
Of particular similarity, however, is the high price paid for something dear to the owner. Satan is the great counterfeiter and usurper. For every authentic and good thing God has provided, Satan has offered a fake substitute. And, he has usurped man’s crown and glory, offering him happiness and fulfillment, while actually bringing him lower even to
So we belonged to God all along. But through sin, and death by sin, mankind sank down, losing his home, his dominion, and his purpose.
All the sacrifices in the world could not take away our sins (Hebrews 10:4).
But our owner wants us back. He expresses his willingness to make payment when he spoke the stories of the lost coin, the lost sheep, and the lost son (Luke 15).
Jesus himself stated part of his mission as being to seek and to save that which was lost (Matthew 18:11).
Paul could then announce the good news — that in Christ, we have restored to us all that we lost in Adam (Romans 5:12-21). How that through one man, Adam, sin entered the world, and death by sin (5:12), yet we have through one man, (Jesus, the Christ) redemption, salvation, eternal life! (See Romans 5:17).
There I was, like the little lunchbox tucked away in the obscure shop — away from home, away from the one who loved me first, yet of high value in my original owner’s eyes. His purpose all along was redemption: with a view toward the redemption of God’s own possession (Ephesians 1:14).
And Strawberry? Would anyone go bring her back?
Oran Burt is the pulpit minister with the Somers Avenue church in North Little Rock, Ark.
by Oran Burt