The Ultimate Thrift Store Shopper

  • Randy Karlberg
Old garage full of old trinkets

It is my belief that most husbands would say that it is a challenge to hit a home run with their wife regarding a birthday present.  I would not argue with this line of thinking.  And yet on my wife’s most recent birthday, I gave her a present that, while it may not have been a home run, was most definitely a ground-rule double over the centerfield fence.  Some wives might say a decent birthday present would be refraining from using sporting analogies when conversing with her.  This year my wife was clear about what she wanted for her birthday.  She wanted me to spend time with her and to be excited to do what she wanted to do.  And for this particular birthday what she wanted to do was go “thrift-store” shopping.  Now I know you husbands are thinking one of two things.  Either “that is too great a price to pay”, or “you went?  Wow, you are a spiritual giant!”  A martyr if you will.  Actually, it was a great time!  

What you need to understand is that my wife loves a good deal.  I cannot tell you the number of times she has told me how much money she has saved by shopping at a particular sale.  As a matter of fact, one of her favorite things is buying things that other people would enjoy and getting a good deal on it as well!  Truth be told, she has purchased many things for me that were really nice items and yes, she got them for a good deal.  I am of the persuasion that if I don’t go into a store, I have a much greater chance of not knowing that I needed something.  My wife, on the other hand, has the deep-felt urge to see every corner of the thrift store because everyone knows that at the bottom of those piles of …. stuff, is where the real treasures lie.  

Let’s be real.  Most of the stuff at a thrift store is things that are stained or broken or a gift no one wanted.  There are the things that someone was close to sending to the landfill but put in a donation bin instead.  I have no idea what happens to all of the stuff that is rejected by those that see no value in them even at the thrift store, but I would imagine that they would eventually find themselves in the landfill.  Anyway by this time you most likely feel that at least in my mind, my wife is the ultimate thrift-store shopper, but you would be incorrect.  The ultimate thrift-store shopper is our Heavenly Father.  Let me explain.  

Jesus came to earth and spent time not with the religious elite, rather with the poor and the destitute.  In Luke 5:31 he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.”  You see people who are stained or broken, or people no one wants are those whom He reached out to most.  Jesus is the Ultimate thrift-store shopper because He sees the value in each person no matter their condition.  He created each person in the Image of God!  And no one has to convince Him of the value of an eternal soul.  He sees the eternal picture when He sees each person.  

Another way we see Jesus’ character is by looking at how He spent His time.  He did not just minister to the souls who were already valuing Him for who He was.  He spent His time with those who were the most in need.  In Matthew 25:35-36 Jesus is telling those of whom The Father is pleased.  “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.”  And then in verse 40, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”  He is making a clear point that a person who loves God will love others in the way that God loves them, that is providing for people’s needs, both the spiritual and the physical needs.  

So, what can we learn from realizing our Heavenly Father is the Ultimate thrift-store shopper?  Well, first, praise the Lord that He is!! We all are thrift-store material.  Outside of the value we have because of who we are in Christ, we are all broken and stained.  We should never stop being amazed at the value Jesus and God the Father see when they look at us because of Christ’s blood!  Secondly, let us not spend so much of our time at Nordstrom’s and Lululemon.  Maybe we could use our time much better at Goodwill? ☺  Read Ephesians 2:10 if you need convincing.  

I want to leave you with the words of the first verse of the hymn “Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us.” 

Savior, like a shepherd, lead us, much we need Thy tender care;

In Thy pleasant pastures feed us, For our use Thy folds prepare:

Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus, Thou hast bought us, Thine we are;

Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus, Thou hast bought us, Thine we are.


If He has bought us as we are, and we are His, let us see the value in others no matter how stained and broken they are.