I walked into a store the other day and posted in many places were signs saying, “No Returns,” “No Exchanges,” and “All Sales Final!” After seeing the fifth sign I gathered their return or exchange policy is very clear, but just for fun I went and asked if I did not like the item could I bring it back for a full refund. They were not amused and pointed to another sign CLEARLY affixed to the register. I chuckled and said I was just kidding. Again they did NOT see the fun in my question.
There are however, many stores with legendary return and exchange policies. Like the story of a man in Anchorage, Alaska who wanted to return a set of tires, and yet the tire store he purchased had long gone out a business, yet a Nordstrom’s store was in its place. So the man gave it a try. Now Nordstrom’s is an upscale retail store that sells mostly clothing, accessories, shoes and such, not tires! After some discussion the store manager decided to allow the return. How amazing is that?!? Nordstrom’s has an incredible return policy.
I heard another story just this past week in our Life Group, Marlys told of a time she saw a lady bring back to the grocery store a bag of turkey bones and told the manager the turkey was too dry, and she wanted her money back! The story took it back, even when it was this lady’s own fault in that she cooked the turkey too long. That story as a great return policy.
I heard of another amazing, really more awesome return and exchange policy. This policy says that no matter how damaged or broken the item, they will not just accept the return, but exchange it for something better. This policy will even make this exchange regardless if you were the one who caused the damage. Listen to this amazing return and exchange policy…
Isaiah 61:1-3 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; 2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; 3 to grant to those who mourn in Zion – to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified.
Isaiah the prophet of God is talking of Messiah. Messiah Jesus who has come to take our returns and exchange them for something better. See, we live in a sin-sick, sin-saturated world that constantly brings to us hurts; divorce, messed up relationships, abuse, abandonment, poverty, casualties, sufferings, and list goes on. This sin-influenced world also messes us up where we have develop hang-ups like crummy attitudes, internal struggles with anxiety, self-esteem, rejection, insecurities, and more. We have even taken on some bad habits in this sin-infested climate; self-medicating, achieving to gain approval, prejudice, addictions and more.
The great news is there is help. There is an amazing return and exchange policy with Jesus. Jesus said…
Matthew 11:28-30 28 Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Jesus can exchange the ashes of shame from even our own mistakes and mess-ups for a beautiful headdress of honor and blessing. Jesus can also turn the depression of our mourning into a renewed spirit of gladness (some translations of Isaiah 61:3 express that Messiah Jesus will turn our mourning into dancing!). What is even more amazing is that Jesus can take a deflated, empty, spent soul and exchange it for a vibrant life full of praise of God.
To come to Jesus is to know Him, to learn of who He is and how awesome and amazing and powerful and beautiful and great He is. It is also learning of His way of life and exchanging life our-way for life His-way. It’s not a one-time choice, but a choice to join the journey. Many of you have…keep forging forward, keep returning and exchanging. Others of you may need to step into that journey, and I encourage you to investigate Jesus and His way of life. If I can help please write me back and we can chat.
No other place will give you the kind of return or exchange that Jesus can, I know He has done that for me and continues to exchange my hurts, hang-ups, and bad habits for something better…and I know He can for you as well.
Seeking the amazing return and exchange Jesus brings with you,