Even with all of the crazy confetti patterns swirling on the carpet of the arcade floor, my peripheral vision caught a slight glance of something red.
"Excuse me Ms.," I said loudly to the woman who walked right past me. (She just unknowingly stomped on that something red with her flip-flop.) "I think you dropped something."
Without missing a beat in her forward stride, she gave a fleeting look at the floor and said, “That’s not mine.”
As I stooped down to get a closer glimpse of the trampled red item, I couldn’t believe my eyes . . . 2,000 tickets! It was a circular bundle that gets precariously extracted from the infamous claw machine. You know, the one that picks up a coveted prize and then usually drops it back into the sea of treasures--right before it is supposed to be deposited into the winner’s receptacle area. (I am convinced it's rigged!)
My first thought was that of serendipitous excitement. I get to be the hero to my six and nine year old. I could envision the happiness on their faces when I would tell them how mommy just scored 2,000 tickets to trade in for beach boardwalk booty.
And then, just as quickly as my smile lifted, my heart sank.
I didn’t earn these tickets—-someone else did. My children would reap the rewards of another person’s sorrowful loss. Now I pictured the probable hurt on the other end--the one who lost something red for our advantage.
This reminded me of the cross. Right down to the number and color of the tickets.
Jesus painfully paid the price for the forgiveness of our sins. We didn’t earn anything. Salvation is through grace—-an undeserved gift. Our “free ticket” into heaven definitely came with a high cost--the loss of Jesus' life.
"In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace." (Ephesians 1:7 NIV)
How fortunate we are that this sacrifice was not a mistake of accidentally dropping something on the floor, but rather a loving rescue plan intentionally carried out for our benefit.
Three animal print wallets, two containers of neon slime, one styrofoam airplane glider, one hacky sack, and one bouncy ball . . . that’s what my children redeemed with those 2,000 red tickets.
An abundant life today and an eternity with our Savior in the future . . . that’s the redemption God’s children receive with the red blood shed on the cross almost 2,000 years ago.