Finally the salesman made it over to us and showed us the piano lamp we had been looking at, but which had no price tag. It clipped to the music stand so that the light was not on the back of the piano, but directly over the music, just like I wanted, and needed, for these eyes. After a moment or two of research he came back with a price--$75.00! As I said, this was many years ago and that represented nearly half of our weekly income. I didn't even spend that much on groceries for a family of four back then.
We were ready to walk out when Keith happened to ask about the grand and we got the whole story. It had been willed to the University of Florida by an alumnus from Miami and it was a huge contrast to all the other brand spanking new pianos—it had a scratch here and there. This one, we were told, came out at the turn of the 20th century because it had a chestnut core, and a blight hit the American chestnut first in 1904 and completely destroyed them within the next 40 years. Yes, Knabes were great pianos and this one probably classified as an antique, but it just would not do on the stages of the University of Florida Music Department, which ultimately became a Steinway School of Music. The university had traded it in on another new Steinway. That accounted for the price. For the average piano buyer, it was a steal, and it competed with the new ones on the floor. The store owner simply wanted it sold as quickly as possible.
Then Keith suddenly started dickering with the salesman about the piano. I could not believe my ears. We couldn't afford a $75.00 piano light, but he was talking about buying a $5500 piano? I stood there in shock as he first got the salesman down to an even $5000, but that wasn't good enough for him—and it certainly wasn't good enough for our budget. He mentioned our piano and asked about a trade-in.
Finally the salesman had to stop. "I can't go any further," he said. "You'll have to talk to the boss."
And talk he did. We left that place with a date for delivery, plus a $1000 trade-in (for one that had originally been $750!) off the new price of $4000, leaving $3000 for us to pay. They threw the piano light in for nothing. The next morning we would go to the bank for a loan, but on the way out of that store that afternoon, the news having reached him as he waited on another customer, the salesman called out, "Come back when you need another light!"
So that's the story of how one of my dreams came true—a grand piano. But the more important story is this: Did you notice that the salesman was only authorized to do so much, and after that he had to go ask the boss? In religion today, people scoff at authority. Anyone who claims we need to have God's permission to do something is called a Pharisee, a legalist, or worse. Yet every day we deal with the concept of authority and have no problem understanding it at all. Who can sign your credit card? Who can withdraw money from your bank account? Yet people suddenly get up in arms when someone questions their right to change the worship God asked for, the method of salvation he demanded, or the life he requires us to lead. If God does not have the authority to tell us how to do these things, then pray tell, who does?
Most people think they do. Perhaps you should consider that notion again if you find out someone has taken your credit card number and charged a few thousand dollars on it. How can you complain when you don't think your Creator has the right to tell you how He wants to be worshipped, or what it would take to form a relationship with Him? If that salesman had given us the deal the boss did, he would have probably been fired, and he knew it. Why are we so smart everywhere except when dealing with the Almighty God?
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of [by the authority of] the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him (Col 3:17).
For all the peoples walk each in the name of its god, but we will walk in the name of the LORD our God forever and ever (Mic 4:5).