"Bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind."
- Luke 14:21
Thrift and discount stores hold a strange fascination for me. In truth, I would rather shop at a second-hand store than at a mall or department store. I get bored when I go into a shop at the mall that is stocked with ten of every item, all exactly the same. Shoes match bags and dresses match scarves, and everything comes in nearly every size. They have a sameness that I find dull and unexciting. Shopping at a thrift store, however, is always an adventure. You never know what interesting merchandise might be hiding on a shelf—it might be just what you are looking for!
The items at thrift stores are usually not perfect. Sometimes there is a missing handle, or maybe a small chip somewhere. These items are sold “as is,” and buyers usually cannot return purchases if they break. Customers must understand they are buying second-hand articles—items discarded in the past because they were no longer wanted and were considered to be of no value. Maybe that is why I like thrift stores so much—I get to rescue what was once loved and appreciated but has now been abandoned.
As much as I like thrift stores, I find it amazing that Jesus is interested in used products. When people are used up by the world, broken and no longer looked upon as anything of value, Jesus Christ sees their souls as worth more than the whole world. He sees something special that He can use in each one. We come to Jesus in an “as is” condition, and He makes us new creatures. He takes the cracks and chips in our lives—the problems we acquired through a misspent life—and gives us the beauties of His glory instead. And just like “as is” purchases, there is no worry that we will be returned!
Jesus is not looking for perfect people; if He were He would never find them on earth. Rather, He wants “the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind” souls who will give their lives to Him. I regard myself as having come out of a “thrift store,” but am now sitting in heavenly places with Jesus. How many people do we know who are in a broken condition today? They are the ones we need to pray for and encourage, that they would ask Jesus to do a repair job for them, too.