by Crystal Bowman
The cucumbers in the produce case were extra-large and only 89 cents each. The length and weight of each cucumber varied, but since it didn’t affect the price, I searched for the biggest one I could find. It’s not that I’m greedy or stingy, I just like a good deal. And the bigger the cucumber, the better the deal.
I always check my receipt when I return home to make sure all my groceries were bagged and loaded properly, and that nothing was left behind. It was then that I noticed the mistake. The cashier had entered my over-sized cucumber as a zucchini squash, which almost tripled the price. It was an honest mistake, but it made my good deal a not-so-good deal after all. Since I live within walking distance to the store, I decided to stop in the next day, so they could correct the error. They did.
This all made me think about our sins. Our society tends to label sin as not so bad, bad, and really bad. We believe a little white lie is not as bad as stealing or murder. The consequences, of course, are more severe for the “big” sins, but in God’s eyes, all sin is sin. And whether our sins are small, medium, or extra-large, the price He paid for our sins is the same. Jesus suffered and died a criminal’s death on the cross. He paid for our sins—no matter the size— with his shed blood.
It almost doesn’t seem fair that a criminal receives the same forgiveness as the law-abiding citizen. But Jesus’ sacrifice was enough to pay for all of the sin. Every single one. He’s about forgiving all who confess their sins and desire to become one of His followers. He paid the same price for the murderer’s sins as he did for mine.
Romans 3:23-24 (NIV) says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”
It’s so easy to forget that, isn’t it? When we see the horrific acts of evil on the news and hear of school shootings and riots in the streets, we tend to forget that Jesus died for all people, not just the goody-two-shoes.
I live only 45 minutes from Parkland, Florida, where 17 students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School died on Valentine’s Day 2018 at the hands of a lone shooter. I watched the news for hours, trying to process what was happening too close to home. The next day, when I went to my exercise class, it was the topic for discussion. While most people expressed their horror and sadness, one woman said to me, “I’m praying for the shooter. He needs Jesus too.”
Gulp! I swallowed hard with conviction and had to admit that the thought of praying for him never crossed my mind. But she was right. He needs Jesus too. We all need Jesus.
Romans 6:23 (NIV) says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
We deserve to be put to death for our sins, but Jesus took the death penalty for us. Salvation is free to us through faith in Jesus, because He paid the price—the same price—for all. I pray that I will always remember I am no better than anyone else, and that Jesus loves us all the same. This is the Gospel message we need to share with our children, grandchildren, friends, co-workers, neighbors—and people at the grocery store.
And the next time I’m at there and buy an over-sized cucumber, I’ll remember to tell the clerk it’s not a zucchini.
“Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” Isaiah 1:18 NIV
About the author: Crystal Bowman is an award winning, best-selling author of more than 100 books for children including Our Daily Bread for Kids, M is for Manger, and Does God Take Naps? She is a mentor for MOPS and teaches at writers’ conferences. She is a contributor to Clubhouse Jr. Magazine and writes lyrics for children’s piano music. Her latest release, co-authored with her daughter-in-law, is Mothers in Waiting, Healing and Hope for Those with Empty Arms. She lives in both Florida and Michigan (wherever the weather is best), and travels often to get hugs from her grandchildren.
Join the conversation: Who are the people that you forget to pray for?