THE SOUL is shaped by words, images, & experiences.

THIS BLOG is about those things that have left their impression on me. I'd love for you to comment on what affects you.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Irresistible Bargains

Greek open market photo by Alex Tsirozidis

With the winter sales about to begin in Greece, those of us who have received money as Christmas gifts are champing at the bit to spend it. But I don't have to wait for the sales anymore to get bargains. I've struck gold at my street market. Every Tuesday since before Christmas, a young Iranian man has been selling tables-full of mens and womens clothing very cheaply. His clothes are clean, each piece one-of-a-kind, and if you dig around long enough, you're sure to find something fashionable.

The man is very nice. I've gotten to know him a bit. He travels back and forth between Greece and Iran, where he has a young family. He sells most articles of clothing for two euros (less than three dollars). When I've chosen pieces that cost more, he has knocked down the price for me.
The thing I like about mining in these assorted piles is you never know what you'll find.

Yesterday I was ecstatic to find a sleek, black, leatherette coat that fit as if it were tailored for me. I modeled it for Peter, and when I told him it cost me only seven euros (about ten dollars), he couldn't believe it. He said that his football socks cost more!

Everyone loves bargains and freebies. So I don't understand why anyone would reject the greatest free offering of all time. Why would anyone turn away from the gift that gives its recipient unsearchable riches, unrivaled security, enduring joy, and everlasting life (Ephesians 2:4-9)? Why would anyone turn down God's gift of reconciliation to Him through His Son Jesus Christ?

I won't take any "free gifts" offered by phone solicitors and salesmen, because I know from experience there are strings attached.

The Bible says in Ephesians 2:8,9: "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."

No strings attached there.
It's crazy that people would insist on tying strings to God's free gift. Yesterday I handed the street vendor ten euros, because that's what he had priced the coats. When he told me he would charge me seven instead, you can bet I didn't refuse.

How about you? Come across any irresistible bargains lately?


Lori said...

Apart from daily grace, you mean? :)

After Christmas I snagged a bunch of vintage stuff at the thrift store in my hometown. I walked out of there with a giant trash bag crammed full of purses, shoes, a wool cape (ala Anne of Green Gables!), a cocktail dress circa 1950, and several wild head scarves. (All for less than $30.) I swear the elderly gentleman behind the register was laughing at me. "You like that old stuff, don't you hon?"

I smiled. "It's not old. It's vintage."

An American in Athens said...

Shortly before Christmas, I was out walking the dog, and I came across a red office chair, you know the kind with the rolling wheels. Uptil then, I was using a dining room chair and a folding table as my "office equipment". I was longing for a new "set-up" but since we are building a new house, I wasn't willing to pay for anything new. Now, the Lord knows our hearts and He knew my desire for something more comfortable. I was not complaing because everything in my office was free! Starting with my laptop computer, the bookcase that houses all of my supplies, my teaching materials and books, all the way down to a whole tinful of erasers I've collected that seem to magically fall out of the sky and onto our rooftop where I go to hang out the lanudry. I always seem to find an eraser when I'm up there! In fact, I found one just this morning!!
However, the best was yet to come! Out, once again with my dog one rainy evening just before the holidays, I walked past this piece of furniture that someone had put out of their house and set on the sidewalk.(Here in Greece, that is the signal that it is no longer wanted and yours for the taking if you like it!) Like Lydia, I LOVE bargin hunting and freebies, so naturally, my curiosity got the best of me and I went in for a closer look! In the dark, rainy evening, it appeared to be a dresser of some sort and boy, oh boy, do I ever need storage! It was a solid wooden piece with 4 drawers on the bottom. The top resembled something like a closed piano. Well, we got the thing into the house and drug it into the dining room and there it stayed. The next morning, I inspected it and tried to open the top, but it was locked! Small matter, because locks have seldom stopped me from getting in! I got out a couple of screwdrivers and jimmied open the lock and to my amazement, the top dropped open to reveal the most beautiful "drop-top" desk!! It's the colour of pecan or walnut, maybe, but it is lovely! It has compartments for files and slots for mail and two small drawers inside at the top of the desk. The work area is huge and I have those 4 big drawers at the base!!!
God is GOOD!!!! ALL THE TIME!!!!
I'm writing this comment now on my free laptop which is sitting on my lovely, free desk while my bum is sitting on my very comfortable, free, rolling desk chair!
I could go on and on telling you what else I 've got in my office that was free...but I think you get the idea!
I also love the open air market, and have found many a bargin there in the "clothing department"! There are some Sundays I arrive at church wearing an entire outfit that cost me only two euros!!! I get happy when I find such things!
God gives us so many blessings, we just need to always be thankful!
An American in Athens

Lydia said...

Wow, what an incredible story of God's goodness and tender mercies toward us! That's a great example of Him knowing what we need physically, as well as spiritually, before we even ask.

BTW, that's how we got our comfy living room furniture and my drafting table stool. Someone who was redecorating, offered those things saying, "Dunno why, but the Lord seems to want you guys to have this stuff."

Erasers falling from the sky! Sounds like the makings of a good short story.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of bargains and places to shop I would like to share with you my favorite place "THE IMPACT THRIFT STORE'. It is a Christian operated store and gives to many, I can't remember the number, charities in the area. I could go there everyday and find something. But you have to be quick when you see something you like and not take a moment to think about it because there is someone right next to you ready to snatch it out of your hands. That very thing happened to me on my last visit there. I was thinking about getting this floral arrangement that I thought was rather pretty and I picked it up and then set it down again and suprise, this woman standing next to me grabbed it that fast. So one thing I learned is to put the things that I'm interested in into the cart and decide if I want it at the register. It's a fun place for me and I find many good bargains- lots of designers clothes. So long to all the mall and shopping plazas.
-Lydia Mary Trecroce, USA