One of the things one quickly discovers in Asia is that the price is never the price. Even when it is fixed priced pricing there are exceptions. In certain countries, it is expected that there will be a bit of bargaining. It is an accepted and expected part of the sales process. As important as it is, I like the advice giving to travelers going to certain locations in Laos and Burma. “Haggle and bargain, but do not do it too hard. Remember, these individuals depend on their sales to live. Even when sales are good, they do not live very well.”
As I reflect on a week of haggling, bargaining, and shopping for fun, the advice would do any and everyone well. It is important to protect yourself. Bargaining is a natural part of getting along, especially in a large community. Yet, it is not all about winning. When one has received, it is time to give some of it back to the community. Said another way, if you have gotten to a reasonable point, never get or be greedy. It does not start or end with money.
As I think of the really important things in life, relationships, a sense of belonging, knowing I am valued and appreciated, I realize I can easily give this away to the people I meet. I was struck during the week by Carli’s insistence in treating every individual as a person that mattered. It was a fantastic example of what God does for us. We matter and Divinity gives us evidence to support the premise. We can, should, must do it for those around us. This is especially true for those who lack the ability to defend themselves, get ahead, or even survive.
When “God says, ‘You were sold for nothing. You're being bought back for nothing.’” (Isaiah 52.3) It was not a statement of our value. Actually it was the opposite. We gave up our freedom for simple words. We have been given the opportunity for restoration. Again, because of nothing we have, will, or can do.
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