“Then Abraham bowed in the presence of the people of the land and he spoke to Ephron in the hearing of the people of the land, saying, ‘If you will only hear me: I would give silver for the field; take it from me and I will bury my dead there.’”
Once again, we see the persistence of Abraham to do what is right. How often we are quick to seek out (and even to expect) the gratuities of others when it would be right and proper for us to pay a fair price for an item. How often Christians are characterized as seeking “something for nothing” or to guilt someone into a discount because, “it is for the church.” How often churches underpay their employees and pastors because, “it is for the ministry” and how often corrupt pastors guilt people into giving far beyond their means to support a lavish lifestyle or massive church building projects.
This is not to suggest that people should not give to the church nor is it to suggest that Christians (as well as non-Christians) should not be prudent with their money and seek to find deals and discounts. The bottom line is, what will the people you are interacting with remember once everything is said and done. Will they have had a good experience? Will they feel cheated? Will they feel that a fair deal has been struck? Will the person regret having done business with us? Abraham is leaving no opening for Ephron to come back and say that Abraham stole from them or abused their generosity. Ephron will also not be able to come back and claim Abraham’s line as part of his own, burying pagans alongside of Sarah’s body. Ephron also will not be able to come back and say, “I did you a favor, now it’s your turn to do me a favor.” A fair deal will be struck; may we too follow Abraham’s model as we interact with the world of non-believers around us.