Private Price Tags

When you walk into or drive-through at Starbucks, you know what you’re going to order, and you also know what you’re going to pay for the beverage. On a daily basis, we make exchanges like this—ones where we know exactly what we’ll pay and what we’ll get. What we’ll give and what we’ll receive. Of course, I’m talking about monetary exchanges. Some we think about, but many we don’t.

But there are other exchanges we consider every day and have to evaluate on a very different level, because there aren’t such clear-cut price tags. I’m talking about relational exchanges on an emotional and even spiritual level. Before we speak or respond or take action, we ask ourselves questions like:

—What will I get back if I give this?

—Is it worth giving this up?

—Will I get back more than I bargained for? (positive or negative)

—What value will this exchange have for me?

—Will this get me what (or where) I want?

Here’s some detailed examples:

—I really should tell my wife about this, but what if she freaks out about it?

—I really should tell my boss about this, but what if he/she freaks out about it?

—If I share this idea with my co-workers, will someone else take the credit?

—If I get into this conversation, do I have the time and energy to engage?

—Is giving up the next hour, this evening, next weekend, etc. really going to be worth it for my relationship with ……..?

Here’s some deeper examples:

—If I go to the men’s meeting, are they going to talk about my issue and make me feel guilty?

—If I give this up, will it really pay off in blessings?

—If I tithe, will God really come through on the budget?

—If I really love my wife and put her first, will she respond or will I just become a doormat?

—If I try to pray with my family, will they take me seriously or just roll their eyes?

—If I try and step up with my buddies or at church, will they take me seriously?

We make split-second decisions about relationships, both cost and benefit, blessing or curse every day, just like we decide whether to buy something or not.

Here’s the closing question for you: Who typically wins on the emotional/spiritual decisions you make? You? God? Others?

If you decide not to speak, not to reach out, not to engage, not to pray, you may think it helps you win in that moment, when in reality, it may be costing you far more than you realize. Turn a “I really wish I would have” into an “I’m so glad I did.” So, the next time you pull out your wallet, just pay what you owe, but the next time you evaluate any emotional exchange, count the cost . . . for others. And for the glory of God.

Words of wisdom 
are a stream 
that flows 
from a deep fountain. —Proverbs 18:4

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