The Barter System

In our modern, free enterprise economy, the price of a product is determined by a number of factors. There are costs associated with research and development, labor, cost of raw materials to manufacture the product, marketing and sales, and that’s just to name a few. Once a product has been developed and manufactured, the price has been set, and it’s finally offered for sale, the consumer exchanges money for whatever it is that’s being sold. In simple terms, we exchange money for goods.

But there is another form of trade that has become popular among certain groups of people in recent years known as the barter system. The barter system is different in one aspect. The goods being offered for trade are generally not brand new. With some exceptions, trading (or bartering) usually involves used goods. And when two parties engage in a bartering transaction, the monetary value of the goods being exchanged may or may not be taken into account. In the barter system, it’s more of – “You have something I want. And I have something you want. Let’s trade” And sometimes, the trade involves bartering goods for certain types of services, like trading a flat screen TV for car repair.

Like I said, you don’t always consider the monetary value of an item in a barter transaction. I recently engaged in a barter transaction in which the item I gave up was worth more monetarily than what I received in return. But the other guy had something I wanted and I had something he wanted. So we made the deal.

Of course, all of this is within reason. No one’s going to give up a yacht for a riding mower. With that said, however, think about the value of what God gave up to secure our eternal souls. Billy Graham once said, “The blood of Jesus was God’s own life.” In keeping with the spirit and tone of this message, it was the ultimate one-sided barter transaction. God brought His own Son to the cross at Calvary. All we bring to the table is the debt of sin. What can we possibly give God in exchange for what He gave for us? But God made the exchange. Our sin debt cancelled – exchanged for the life of Jesus at the cross.

In 1 Corinthians 6 verses 19 and 20, God’s word tells us, You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. And I love how this is stated in the New Living Translation – God bought you with a high price.

We bring nothing to the table but our sin, yet God wants us. We bring nothing to the table but our brokenness. We have nothing that God could ever want or need, yet God was willing to pay the price. All He asks is that we believe in His son Jesus and put our trust in Him, that we make Him Lord of our lives. He asks us to have faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross. Faith, as Peter wrote, is more precious than gold because gold will one day perish. But what we get in return for placing our faith in our Lord Jesus Christ is eternal. It seems like such a one sided transaction, but God, because of His immeasurable love, was willing to do it anyway!