Deposits with Returns



Pepsi Bottles

Galatians 3:14: Christ paid the price so that the blessing promised to us would come to all the people of the world through Jesus Christ and we would receive the promised Spirit through faith.

I don’t know how you earned money when you were younger for those necessities children must have like candy and toys. I used various means, including taking my parents’ offer to pay me a penny for every dandelion I dug up. Some of you know how hard the clay that passes for soil around here is, so my scheme to get rich by digging dandelions in the hot sun lasted maybe ten minutes and I earned ten cents (I was a slow child).

Then my brother and I tried a Kool-Aid stand, but no one in the neighborhood had any more money than we did, and they were not about to buy something they could make themselves. That business scheme resulted in a total loss, so we went further into the hole.

Then some kids at school told me about the wonders of bottle deposits. They’re still around in some states, and some pay ten cents a bottle, but in case you haven’t heard how the system worked back in the day, when we bought bottled drinks, each drink had two cents added to the price to insure that you would bring the bottle back so it could be reused. When you brought the bottle to the store,  you got your two cents back. You returned the bottles to get a return.

Some people who were apparently wealthy didn’t return their bottles, but left them lying around  or threw them out of the windows of their cars, and if those didn’t break, we would come along towing our red wagon, collect the empties, and haul our take to the grocery store and redeem them. We didn’t make a lot, but more than if we had sat around reading comic books all day. My mother suggested that we save some our hard-earned money, but we scoffed at that idea and spent it before it could “burn a hole in our pockets,” as my mom said, rather disdainfully. I wasn’t until I started painting the interiors of houses in high school that I made enough to matter. And I did save some of it.

The spiritual application, I think, is this. We don’t have to worry about nickeling and diming our way to salvation, to use a phrase. It’s not even worth trying, although some people do, thinking their good deeds are the deposits that they can use to gain eternal life. We of course know as believers that our debt was paid in full at Calvary by the sacrifice of the Redeemer of the world whose Resurrection we celebrate this Sunday and every Sunday. Praise God for the treasures that have been stored up for us in heaven so that we don’t have to try to earn our way in. Amen.



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