Trading Up

February 11, 2021
Volume 25, Number 6

Jack was told to sell the family cow in order to buy much-needed food. Along the way a stranger offered to trade the cow for some magical beans. You know the story.

Demi Skipper, who lives in San Francisco, claims she has pulled a similar trick: she has traded a bobby pin for a house. To tell the whole story you need to know there were several trades involved, each seeing something of lower value being exchanged for something of higher value (e.g. the bobby pin was traded for $10 earrings). Over time a Macbook computer, an expensive pair of athletic shoes, and a minivan were involved. Now she has a small cabin valued at $9,500. All from a bobby pin?!

Skipper is not the first to do something like that. In 2006 Kyle McDonald started out with a red paper clip and ultimately received a three-bedroom small house in Kipling, Saskatchewan, Canada. His trade-up experience included items like a fish-shaped pen, a ceramic knob, a camping stove, etc. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. That’s why these trade-ups can happen.

Here, however, is the greatest trade-up of all time, described in Isaiah 53:4,5: “Surely, He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.”

“The Suffering Servant” is the title often given to the prophecy of Isaiah 53, and clearly it is a description of the Passion of Jesus Christ, announced more than 700 years before Jesus appeared on earth. Why did the Lord’s Servant suffer? It was not due to His own transgressions, for He was guilty of no sins at all (see 1 Peter 2:22, which quotes Isaiah 53:9). But Jesus willingly traded down to help us.

2 Corinthians 8:9 looks at the transaction from a financial perspective: “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.” Do we know of any example in history that parallels such a selfless exchange? How do we explain it?

A song we sometimes sing in worship gives the answer: “He left the splendors of heaven, knowing His destiny was the lonely hill of Golgotha, there to lay down His life for me. If that isn’t love the ocean is dry …” The ocean, of course, is not dry, and the point is that Jesus’ actions are all about love: His love for you, and His love for me.

In a string of transactions that goes from a bobby pin to a house someone had to lose out; perhaps they were even duped. But Jesus wasn’t duped; He willingly gave Himself.

Come to the light God offers! Study His word, the Bible. Worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:24). Get in touch with us if you’d like to discuss these ideas further.


Copyright, 2021, Timothy D. Hall. All scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from the New King James Version (Copyright, 1990, Thomas Nelson, Inc.).

“LightGrams” is produced by the Central Church of Christ, 2722 Oakland Avenue, Johnson City, Tennessee, 37601, and is written by Tim Hall, minister. It is sent free of charge every Thursday to all who request it. To subscribe or to receive more information, write to “” (our E-mail address), to the U.S. mail address above, or call (423) 282-1571.

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