The Price Tags, by Lorena Keck

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The Price Tags

by Lorena Keck

Jeff and Ivan, two sixth graders, tried on baseball mitts at King’s Superstore. They had been mowing their neighbor’s lawns to earn money for a mitt that they could share. As they tried them on, one by one, they’d pound their right fist into the mitt pocket to make sure it felt just right.

“Yeah. This is the best. I’d really catch a fly ball with this one.” Ivan’s eyes gleamed as he pounded his fist into the mitt one more time.

“But look at this one, Jeff. It’s only $14.98.”

“I like this one better.”

“But Ivan, we don’t have $24.98.”

Without moving his head, Ivan rolled his eyes around to make sure no one was watching, then he carefully switched the price tags. “I do this all the time,” he whispered, as he strode nonchalantly to the cash register and paid $14.98 for the $24.98 mitt.


The boys jumped on their bikes and headed to their homes like a policeman was chasing them. Jeff’s heart raced faster than his legs peddled. He threw his bike onto the front lawn, and ran into the house and down the hall to his room.

He threw himself across his bed and almost cried. What would mom and dad think of me? What does Jesus think of me?

“Jesus, please forgive me,” Jeff prayed.

After dinner, Jeff phoned Ivan. “I won’t be at the championship game, but I hope we win.”

“Why won’t you be at the game? I can’t play without my best friend rooting for me.”

“I’m going back to the Henderson’s to mow their lawn.”

“Why? We already bought the mitt.”

“I want to pay the store what we cheated them.”

Ivan whispered into the phone, “Why? That’s pretty stupid! They don’t even know.”

“Well, Jesus knows, and I care what He thinks. He wants us to be honest.”


It took Jeff all afternoon to finish Henderson’s lawn without Ivan’s help. And Ivan had a hard time concentrating on the championship baseball game—even with his new mitt.

Jeff took the ten dollars Mrs. Henderson gave him and walked to Kings’ Superstore.

“May I talk with the manager, please?” Jeff’s heart thundered in his ears, and he wiped his sweaty hands on his jeans.

“Hello, son. I’m the manager. How can I help you?”

“Ah, well, it’s hard to explain,” Jeff stammered. “Yesterday my friend and I bought a baseball mitt. We didn’t have enough money for the mitt we wanted, so we changed the price tags. I don’t want my friend to get into trouble, but here’s the rest of the money. I know Jesus didn’t like what we did. This is the mitt that should be $14.98.”

The manager put his hand on Jeff’s shoulder. “I want to thank you for being honest, young man. That took a lot of courage.”

“I’m very sorry, Sir. Please forgive us.”


Ivan was waiting at Jeff’s house when Jeff rode his bike up to the porch.

“Hey, what took you so long? We won the game by two points. I thought we were going to lose.”

“I’m glad we won, and I sure hated to miss the game, but I had to pay that store what we owed on that mitt.”

“What did they say? Were they mad? Were you scared? Did you tell them my name?”

“The manager was very thankful. They also changed the price back to $14.98 to be fair to the person who buys that mitt. No, I didn’t tell him your name.”

“I’ve never met anyone like you, Jeff. What makes you so honest?”

“It’s because I honor Jesus. He helped me. If you want to learn more about Jesus, and how he can help you be honest, come to church with me Sunday.”

The two friends did a high five, and then ran into the kitchen in search of something to munch on.

About the Writer

Lorena Keck has been writing for Jesus for the past thirty years. She is now in her eighties and has eight grandchildren and twenty great grandchildren. She lives in Texas with her retired-minister husband of sixty-two years and her daughter’s family.

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