It happens for many times that a friendship is over when people come to the point to sell something to each other. Then, something interferes in their relationship, or they show up some qualities or attitudes they have never shown up before, and they can not continue their friendship as it was before. In this article I want us to learn common sense in such kind of cases, looking at an example from the Holy Scriptures. When Sarah, Abraham’s wife died, he came to Heth’s sons to buy a burial place for her and he said this:
“I am a stranger and a sojourner among you; give me a burial site among you that I may bury my dead out of my sight.” (Genesis 23:4)(NASB)
1. When you sell, appreciate and show respect to the purchaser.
Before you say the price of a thing to the purchaser, firstly think at what that man has done for you, for your family, maybe you have to pay a tribute to him and you can show your respect through the price you tell him, and inversely, you can show contempt for him and for what he has done for you. The Bible says that, when Abraham came to ask this from the nation among whom he lived…
The sons of Heth answered Abraham, saying to him, ”Hear us, my lord, you are a mighty prince among us; bury your dead in the choicest of our graves; none of us will refuse you his grave for burying your dead.” (Genesis 23:5–6)(NASB)
2. Show gratitude and respect to the seller for his beautiful attitude.
Here is how Abraham did this:
So Abraham rose and bowed to the people of the land, the sons of Heth. And he spoke with them, saying, “If it is your wish for me to bury my dead out of my sight, hear me, and approach Ephron the son of Zohar for me, that he may give me the cave of Machpelah which he owns, which is at the end of his field; for the full price let him give it to me in your presence for a burial site.” (Genesis 23:7–9)(NASB)
It is clear from the context that Ephron was present there while Abraham was telling those words, that’s why Abraham could address directly to him. Why didn’t he do that? Because in that way, he showed respect to Ephron and he increased his value and the value of his wealth before the sons of Heth. All this process of sale and purchase is done to make a good name for the other and to make him be respected before people. We have much to learn from the way Ephron gave the answer:
3. When you sell a thing, don’t look for your own profit, but for the purchaser’s.
Here is how the Scriptures realates about Ephron’s actions:
Now Ephron was sitting among the sons of Heth; and Ephron the Hittite answered Abraham in the hearing of the sons of Heth; even of all who went in at the gate of his city, saying, ”No, my lord, hear me; I give you the field, and I give you the cave that is in it. In the presence of the sons of my people I give it to you; bury your dead.” (Genesis 23:10–11)(NASB)
Once, when I and my wife were in United States of America, we left for Saint Louis from Missouri with some of our disciples to other friends who lived there. We had known about that travelling beforehand, and we had bought tickets from Moldova to fly from Saint Louis to Seattle. When we came to the airport, we were surprised to find out that according to the tickets that had been sold to us in Moldova, we had to fly from another city Saint Louis from California. We just imagined what would follow on, according to the rules and attitudes of the people from our side of the world and we were expecting to be imposed to buy the tickets again, that was very expensive. When the woman who was working at the reception saw our faces, she said: “You don’t have to worry. It is not your fault. It has happened to other people, too. It is not the first time. Wait and I will arrange to fly to Seattle.” She also asked if we had been there before and if someone came to meet us. Then, she tried to arrange all things in 45 minutes, so that we might come to Seattle at the time that was indicated on our initial tickets. She didn’t take any money from us, saying that the company would arrange that, because our initial ticket was from their company too. She cheked our luggage and when we wanted to go on, she told us that she found a better ticket, with less stopovers. She arranged the tickets and ran very quickly to change the luggage cards. Finally, when we thanked her a lot and appreciated all she had done for us, she told that it was her duty and she did it with great joy for us. While leaving I thought that that was the seceret of prosperity of the people from that country, that man was above money and material profit. Of course, this is not in the whole world, nevertheless, there are very many people that think this way. Let us go back to the case described in the Bible to see what else we can learn.
4. When you buy, don’t make profit on the seller’s kindness and don’t subestimate the value of his wares.
Abraham could have taken Ephron on his word and could have paid nothing. Nevertheless, Abraham didn’t make profit on his kindness and insisted to pay. Here is what the Bible relates to us in regards to this:
And Abraham bowed before the people of the land. He spoke to Ephron in the hearing of the people of the land, saying, “If you will only please listen to me; I will give the price of the field, accept it from me that I may bury my dead there.” (Genesis 23:12–13)(NASB)
5. Be attentive while negotiating and be ready to pay the asked price.
The Scripture says that Ephron answered this way to Abraham:
Then Ephron answered Abraham, saying to him, ”My lord, listen to me; a piece of land worth four hundred shekels of silver, what is that between me and you? So bury your dead.” Abraham listened to Ephron; and Abraham weighed out for Ephron the silver which he had named in the hearing of the sons of Heth, four hundred shekels of silver, commercial standard. (Genesis 23:14–16)(NASB)
Even if Ephron firstly said that he gave the field to Abraham, that one insisted once again to pay the price. Attention! He mentioned the price so that the value of the field might be known. If Ephron hadn’t mentioned the price, it was clearly that he wanted to give it as a gift to Abraham. But, Ephron wanted to sell that field and he acted very nicely before people, before Abraham and finally he sold the field for a very good price. It was clear that the price of the field was not a problem for Abraham, who was a rich and blessed man. He immediately paid the price.
After this business of sale and purchase all had something to gain. Abraham obtained the cave where he wanted to burry Sarah, but also he gained the field where the cave was. Ephron sold the field for a very good price. More than that, through that business both the seller and the purchaser made a good name for each other. Follow their example and be blessed by God!
Translated by Djugostran Felicia