The Parable of the Expired Coupon

I’m sure anyone with a loyalty card can relate. You spend, spend, spend so you can qualify for a discount or a coupon or a special offer thanking you for your loyal patronage. I do that at my local hardware store. This store doesn’t require me to buy much until I get a $5 or $10 off coupon in the mail. These are especially great when the seasons are changing because I can buy ice melt or landscaping materials. And I like to brag about getting a bargain.

Can you guess what happens? I get the coupon, put it away for safe keeping so I can use it when I’m ready, and then pull it out to use just in time to realize… it expired a week ago. Every. Single. Time. I hate that feeling. A deal was within reach. Plans were made. Ice was melted and flower beds were beautified. In my mind. In actuality, I still need those things, but now I have to shell out more of my OWN money instead of taking advantage of what had been offered me on behalf of the store.

The Lord Jesus Christ offered us a way to overcome our sins. His Atonement provides a way for us to repent of our wrongdoings, seek forgiveness from God and those we’ve hurt or offended, and be made spiritually whole again. Jesus Christ has already suffered, taking upon Him all our sins. He assumed the burden and paid the price of our sins. “For it is expedient that an atonement should be made; for according to the great plan of the Eternal God there must be an atonement made, or else all mankind must unavoidably perish; … yea, all are fallen and are lost, and must perish except it be through the atonement” (Alma 34:9). But for the atonement to have effect, we must exercise faith in Him. We must be baptized, receive the Holy Ghost, and obey His commandments. And we must be faithful disciples. And, the Lord has taught that we must not procrastinate the day of our repentance (Alma 34:33).

So back to the expired coupon. It’s not hard to imagine how I feel when I take full advantage of the deal that the hardware store has made available to me and the disappointment I experience when I realize I have missed my chance. Christ has made it possible to gain forgiveness and eternal life. Unlike the store coupon, available to only certain customers, His offer is available to every one of God’s children. And unlike the store’s policy of not accepting expired coupons, God is merciful. He knows we’re not perfect and will continue to sin. He wants us to repent and let the atonement take effect in our lives. I believe in His “policy.” I need His mercy always. 

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Happiness! 100% off.

written by guest blogger April M.

sale-iconThere are many emotions I’ve been privileged to experience in my 44 years.  Among these are desperate sorrow, crushing fear, overpowering joy, and indescribable peace!  Through this I have learned one truth: sorrow and fear can be erased and replaced with joy and peace!  This miracle is accomplished through the Atonement of Jesus Christ!

A friend once taught me about the beauty of this miracle, using an analogy.  She compared our access to the blessings of the Atonement to something each of us does – grocery shopping!  The blessings, or “goods,” we desire are available for us at a figurative “store”, as follows:

Our Elder Brother has paid the FULL price for every item in the store we desire! Everything we want is 100% off!  He spent His money for our goods and they are now free for us to enjoy!  But – we must make an effort to get them. We must grab our keys and get in the car.  We must drive to the store. We must push the shopping cart. We must remove the items from the shelves. We must fearlessly tell the cashier the items have already been paid for. Then, we go home, supplied with all we need!

Let’s take a look at what this truly means:

Jesus Christ already atoned for our sins, paying the price for every sin that every one of us will make! He knew that we would never be able to fully pay the debt required to purchase salvation so He paid it for us! But we must do OUR PART to access His wonderful gift. It requires effort.

We must “grab our keys and get in the car.” – Get on our knees and offer a heartfelt prayer!

We must “drive to the store.” – Plead to our Father in Heaven that the Holy Atonement may be applied in our behalf!

We must “push the shopping cart” – Promise to change!  We must push through the temptation with our eyes focused on Christ and trust in Him to pull us through it!

We must “remove the items from the shelves” – Forgive ourselves! Have courage!  Commit!  

We must “fearlessly tell the cashier the items have already been purchased” – BELIEVE that the Savior has the power to cleanse us!  We must HAVE FAITH!

Then, we “go home, supplied with all we need.” – We let go of fear and sorrow, knowing that Jesus Christ has made us whole!

 “Behold, doth he cry unto any, saying:  Depart from me?  Behold, I say unto you, Nay; but he saith: Come unto me all ye ends of the earth, buy milk and honey, without money and without price.Hath he commanded any that they should not partake of his salvation? Behold I say unto, Nay; but he hath given it free for all men; and he hath commanded his people that they should persuade all men to repentance.” (2 Nephi 26: 25, 27)

I know that the healing blessings of Christ’s Holy Atonement are real. I have experienced them. I could not survive without them. I know that Jesus Christ has made it possible for us to not only live again, but to live – HAPPILY!