Extra! Extra! And a Saddle to Boot…
“I had a bay horse and traded him to Denzil Craig for a cow. Then I traded with John Claypool a cow for a little bay horse named Prince. Later I traded Prince to Punk McCartney for another bay horse and I got four sheep to boot! Punk lived at Babylon.” My grandpa bought and traded horses like young guys do cars today and if you had enough energy to sit and listen he could tell you the name of every horse he’d ever owned and what he traded it for. Seems he was fond of bay horses, red in color with black mane and tail. It was an especially prosperous trade if he got something “to boot”, which is Queen’s English for “extra” or “in addition to”. Other things that got thrown in to sweeten the deals included a buggy, two heifer calves and a yearling, two sheep and a bee hive, and occasionally a nice saddle.
In the book of Ruth, elderly Naomi was selling her land to her nearest kinsman redeemer as was the custom, but he turned it down and allowed the next-in-line relative to acquire it. Reason being, the parcel of land came with a “to boot”—Naomi and Ruth and any heirs Ruth produced (Ruth 4:9-10). This extra responsibility was a deal breaker for the first guy, so Boaz stepped up, became the story’s heroic kinsman redeemer, and bought the land. He lovingly took care of Naomi and had children with Ruth, producing a lineage that generations later would include the ultimate redeemer, Jesus.
Another “to boot” of biblical proportions can be found in the baskets of extra bread left over when Jesus fed the multitudes. With only a tiny bit of bread and fish they fed 5000 one day and later another crowd of 4000, with left overs to boot. In Mark 8:19-21 Jesus asks his disciples about the significance of the number of baskets full of extra bread (12 one time and 7 another). I am no theologian, but I find it interesting that some have suggested the bread represents Jesus with the number 12 representing the Jewish tribes of Israel and 7 signifying the Gentiles. In the bigger picture we can note there was enough Bread (Jesus) for literally everyone. Message received: He is more than enough!
When I hear good news like that it makes me imagine the guys on street corners with arms full of newspapers yelling “Extra! Extra! Read all about it!” (It’s an image from long ago, a magical time before social media when people were hungry for news and didn’t question it. Some of you might remember).
My grandpa taught me the value of getting something “to boot”, and yet we don’t have to own a bay horse named Prince with a four-sheep add-on to know we’ve been given the deal of a lifetime. We get to live loved, in the peace of having our own personal Kinsmen Redeemer Jesus, who paid the price, rescued us and takes care of us every day forever. Do you ever simply sit and be amazed how He could have only died on the cross and paid the price for our sins to be redeemed? It was a done deal and it was more than enough…but there is a very important “to boot” that we dare not miss. Jesus went the extra mile for us. When He walked on Earth, God’s presence was available to those who walked in the physical presence of Jesus, but He told his disciples the reason He had to leave was so the Holy Spirit could come and be God’s presence with all people everywhere if they believed in Him. (John 16:5-7) Not only does He offer us salvation, but He gives us the Holy Spirit to boot! There is no greater news… and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Janet Cowger- Fliegel