Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Significantly Not As Described

Do you use eBay, craigslist, or any of the other on-line “garage sales?” I certainly do. In fact, I’ve bought sunglasses, skis, cel phone accessories, tickets, clothes, and even cows through those sources. Sometimes ‘new,’ sometimes ‘used.’ (I’m not sure if the ‘new’ or the ‘used’ tag would apply to the cows.)
However, my initial exposure and continued primary experience with eBay has been as a seller.
Several years ago, we discovered that we could try to move some of our old inventory through eBay - things we’ve had trouble selling to the few customers that came into one of our brick and mortar stores could be offered to hundreds, or even thousands of ‘virtual’ customers. It hasn’t been a ‘road to riches,’ but we have been able to recoup some investment, often selling items well below our cost in order to create some cash flow and lessen potential losses on those items.
Occasionally, we have a problem. For example, a lady bought something from us on eBay for a Christmas present. A couple of weeks after Christmas, she decided she wanted to return it. So she filed a ‘dispute’ with eBay alleging the item was ‘Significantly Not As Described.’ According to eBay’s User Agreement, an item is ‘Significantly Not As Described’ when “the seller clearly misrepresented the details of the item in a way that affects its value or usability.” Examples they give include: “The item is a completely different item than that represented by the seller in the listing,” or “The condition of the item is significantly different,” or “The item is unusable and was not disclosed as such,” or “The item was advertised as authentic but is not authentic.”
Don’t get me started about the manner eBay handles disputes, etc. Suffice it to say that no investigation was done and eBay just granted a refund without any consideration of the facts, issues, or positions of the parties.

Sooooo . . . .
Genesis 1:27 tells us: “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him.” Now, I don’t know about you, but when I look at the image in my mirror, I think, “This item would definitely be classified as Significantly Not As Described!”
“Where’s the value?”
“There is no ‘usability’ in that?!”
“The condition of this item is infinitely different than stated!”
“How can this item be ‘authentic’?”

Nevertheless, regardless of the condition of me, God has resolved this dispute in my favor. He stands behind His claim (“in His image”) and He provides an unconditional, eternal warranty. He doesn’t base His judgment of what I am on what I see, but on what He sees. And He sees things through what His Son has done for me and what I will someday be.
What is it that He sees in me? What else would be in the ‘listing’ of who/what I am? What is the ‘representation’ He has made about me?
For starters:
I am God's child (John 1:12); I am a friend of Jesus (John 15:15); I have been justified (Romans 5:1); I am united with the Lord, and I am one with Him in spirit (1 Corinthians 6:17); I have been bought with a price and I belong to God (1 Corinthians 6:19-20); I am a member of Christ's body (1 Corinthians 12:27); I have been chosen by God and adopted as His child (Ephesians 1:3-8); I have been redeemed and forgiven of all my sins (Colossians 1:13-14); I am complete in Christ (Colossians 2:9-10); I have direct access to the throne of grace through Jesus Christ (Hebrews 4:14-16).
I am a branch of Jesus Christ, the true vine (John 15:5); I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit (John 15:16); I am God's temple (1 Corinthians 3:16); I am a minister of reconciliation for God (2 Corinthians 5:17-21); I am seated with Jesus Christ in the heavenly realm (Ephesians 2:6); I am God's workmanship (Ephesians 2:10); I may approach God with freedom and confidence (Ephesians 3:12); I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13).
I am free from condemnation (Romans 8:1-2); I am assured that God works for my good in all circumstances (Romans 8:28); I am free from any attacks brought against me and I cannot be separated from the love of God (Romans 8:31-39); I have been established, anointed and sealed by God (2 Corinthians 1:21-22); I am confident that God will complete the good work He started in me (Philippians 1:6); I am a citizen of heaven (Philippians 3:20); I have not been given a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7); I am born of God and the evil one cannot touch me (1 John 5:18).

I don’t know why He purchased me. But I’m sure glad He did.

As Described,
Craig Hollingsworth

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