Mark Batterson writes, ‘I recently came across a rather interesting reality show, Barter Kings. It’s all about trading something of lesser value for something of greater value. Do it enough times, and you might just end up with something of significant value. Start with a toaster, for example, and trade it for a used bike; then trade the used bike for a microwave. Trade the microwave for airplane tickets, the airplane tickets for a horse, the horse for a used car, and the used car for Jet Skis. Voila! The show tracks those trading strings, and it’s full of twist and turns.

One of the most famous trading strings involved a Canadian blogger, Kyle MacDonald, who started with one red paper clip. It took him nearly a year and fourteen random transactions, which included a hand-sculptured doorknob, a motorised snow globe, and a role in a film. By the time he had done, the red paper clip was battered all the way to a two-storey farmhouse in Kipling, Canada. Pretty crazy, but not as crazy as the gospel. Here’s the deal that the real Barter King puts on the table: you trade all of your sin for all of My righteousness, and we’ll call it even. You’ll never get a better barter. And that’s why it called the Good News.’

Mark Batterson, IF, 2015, Grand Rapids: Michigan, Baker Books, p.108-109