Summary: Some things in life are simply not for sale.
You can tell that the season of summer is here, if not by the traditional signs such as higher temperatures, at least by the signs of garage sales popping up all over the place. Has anyone been to any yet? Has anyone hosted one yet?
Picture this. There you are, keeping one eye on the goods, the other eye on the potential customers, answering their questions, haggling over a dollar or two or five here and there, when all of a sudden someone approaches the till.
He has no articles in hand, but he looks like he wants to buy something, or do some business with you.
“How much do you want for that rocking chair over there?”
“That wooden one. Right over there by the plant stand.”
You smile. “I’m afraid that’s NOT FOR SALE.”
“It’s not? Why is it sitting out here then?”
You’re thinking. “I don’t have to tell you why.” You’re thinking of saying it, but instead you say: “It’s a family heirloom. It belonged to my great
“Are you sure, lady? I’d be willing to pay good money for it.”
You are stunned for a moment. You had never really thought about selling it. It was something that had always been there–first at grandma’s, then your
parent’s place, and when they died, you got it. You’d never thought that anyone else would ever be interested in your great grandfather’s rocking chair. You’d never really thought that it would be worth "good” money.
You’re not really interested in selling, but you’re curious as to what it would fetch. So you say:
“What do you mean by ‘good’ money?”
“Two hundred dollars.”
You feel like saying: “Two hundred dollars? Hold on a second, mister. Let me go talk to my husband.” But instead you say: “Two hundred dollars, eh?”
Before you get to the question mark, he says: “Okay, I’ll up it to three hundred.”
Now you decide to play along. You change the tone of your voice as you repeat: “Three hundred. Three hundred.” “Alright, lady” he says. “Let me
level with you....I’m looking for a rocking chair to complete a set that I have in my living room. That’s why I’m willing to pay you more than what any
antique dealer will give you. Four hundred dollars. And that’s my final offer.”
You are wising up now. “Ever heard of e-bay, mister?”
He realizes that you’re no pushover. He opens up his wallet, pulls out five crisp one hundred dollar bills and waves them in front of you: “Here...this is my final, final offer.”
For a moment, you consider how the five hundred dollars would help you take a holiday if you could buy a ticket on that seat sale which ends tonight. You could really use a break after the stress of being laid off. That was the voice of the cherub on your left shoulder.
And then the cherub on the right shoulder reminds you that as handy as the money may be, this is a very special gift that has been passed down through
the generations. It was given to you in trust by your mother. It was meant to nest in some twig of the family tree always. So, you muster up all the
will-power you’ve got, do your best to ignore the five crisp 100’s staring at you, look him straight in the eye and say: “That is very tempting, sir, but this stays in our family. I am sorry to inform you that this rocker is NOT FOR SALE.”
He walks away in disbelief, shaking his head, implying that you were crazy, if not stupid to turn down his lucrative offer.
You know Ahab, don’t you? King Ahab. King of Israel. Husband of Jezebel. He had signing authority but she held the pen! They were quite a pair. The
8th century B.C. equivalent of Bill and Hillary Clinton. He was out for a walk one day, when he spotted it. No, not a garage sale sign, not a yard sale, but a yard, a vineyard, to be more precise. It belonged to Naboth the neighbour to the north. Now, Ahab had seen that vineyard many times before. It always struck him as a nice vineyard. Good, productive tract of land.
But, this time, when he laid his eyes on it, he saw something more. He could see the vineyard of Naboth, the neighbour to the north, fitting quite nicely into palace property as a vegetable garden. How did the proverb go? One man’s vineyard is another man’s vegetable garden.
Ahab, being the king, could’ve simply annexed his neighbour’s property by royal decree. Like the government deciding to build a new highway right
smack in the middle of your pumpkin patch. Sure, they’re obliged to pay you something, small potatoes usually, and they can have it. Ahab had that power. But he chose not to use it. Instead, he goes to Naboth’s place and rings the doorbell. Naboth comes out promptly and Ahab cuts to the chase: