The Gift Card

The Gift Card


by Dave Reiss

Have you ever experienced this: You are at Barnes & Noble and you want a coffee. So you walk up to the coffee bar and order a drink, grateful that they “proudly serve Starbuck coffee.” When its time to pay, you whip out a Starbuck gift card, only to hear that they don’t accept Starbucks gift cards.  What!? They serve a full Starbucks menu, but they won’t redeem your Starbucks gift card!

You can’t redeem a Starbucks gift card anywhere but at Starbucks.  No matter how much you try and negotiate, the barista at Barnes & Noble can’t change store policy. You are stuck paying cash, not getting a drink, or using a Barnes and Noble gift card.  There is nothing you can do to change that.

I keep using that word “redeem,” what does that even mean? According to the dictionary, it means to gain possession of something in exchange for payment.  For example, you are going to gain possession of that Starbucks coffee in exchange for money. But at Barnes and Noble you cannot redeem it for a Starbucks gift card.

As Christians we talk about how Jesus redeemed us by his death on the cross. He purchased us from the death of our sin by paying the price, his very death. We may think that we should be able to pay the price for our sin by being good people or doing nice things, but that is like bringing a Starbucks gift card to Barnes & Noble.

Psalm 41: 7-8 says, “They cannot redeem themselves from death by paying a ransom to God. Redemption does not come so easily, for no one can ever pay enough. (NLT)” The Bible is very clear, there is no way we can redeem ourselves from the debt of our sin. All the good things we try to do will never be pay enough. Our Starbucks gift card will never be redeemed at Barnes & Noble.

But here is the good news, Jesus has redeemed us. “With his own blood—not the blood of goats and calves (or a Starbucks gift card) —he entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever” (Hebrews 9:12, NLT). Through Jesus Christ we are redeemed! Thanks be to God!

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