Have you ever forgotten you had something valuable – and then got really excited when you found it again?
Or maybe you’re like me in the way I discover more and more what my phone or computer can do that I never knew was available – at no extra charge!
Five years ago when Doug and I were courting, he told me he owned a timeshare in Cabo – and he had never been there! He had paid for it, and continued to pay the maintenance fees – for ten years. And he had never even seen it.
Doug would be the first to agree with you if you’re thinking, “that’s nuts!” But there’s more to the story. He told me he never went to Cabo because he never had anyone he wanted to go with. (I agree, pretty romantic! But that’s not the point.)
The story begins this way; he bought the timeshare on a trip when he was hurting. He was still learning how to be loved and how to love, and because there were truths he didn’t yet believe, he was in the middle of painful relationships.
He left Houston alone at Christmas and ended up fishing in Cabo – and signing on as a “grunt” on a sailing ship. And while he was there, he bought a timeshare.
I think this is the story of many Christians who grew up in youth ministry – going to summer camp.
Sometimes young people are hurting – or at least confused. They’re still learning how to be loved and how to love, and because there are truths they don’t yet believe, they find themselves in the middle of struggling relationships.
It seems like a good idea to hang out with church people – especially in the summer when church people go to camp. And while they’re at camp, they buy a timeshare.
The timeshare speech goes something like this:
“Do you know for sure that you’ll go to heaven when you die?”
– and they’re not sure.
Heaven sounds like a good place to go, so they agree to the gift of a free ticket.
Some of them go home and stick the ticket in a drawer somewhere and forget about it.
What’s worse is that many of us go home and keep paying maintenance fees, thinking the real truth is we need to pay Jesus back for that ticket He gave us. And we never go and experience much of anything that seems like heaven – because we’re working so hard to try to be good -which always means our relationships keep hurting.
I remember listening to the conversation when Doug called Marina Fiesta to reserve our two week stay in Cabo. After agreeing on the dates of our visit, he asked, “How much will this cost?” The voice on the other end said, “Nothing sir. You already paid for this ten years ago.”
What a blast thinking about the gospel this way:
- A new kingdom – already paid for.
- A new identity, Christ in me – already paid for.
- No maintenance fees – paid in full.
- Grace that heals hurts – free.
- Love that helps me grow – unconditional.
Living now gets to be about learning to live this new life –that is the gift of the new nature of Christ in me. That’s very different than living life trying to control my behavior, pretend I’m good, or hide my struggles – or earn enough to make life beautiful.
Doug wanted to enjoy Cabo with someone safe – and fun – and real – and trustworthy. That’s what we all want; God created us that way.
- What if we believed we are already good and quit trying to be good?
- What if we reminded each other of our real identities, even on our worst days?
- What if the people we live with remind us what is already true and what’s already been paid for?
- What if we remind others of these truths, too?
What if we decided to be safe – and fun – and real – and trustworthy? That would be like living in a community of grace. Sounds like heaven to me. It’s already paid for.
Doug and I dream of the day when schools are communities of grace – and places to learn to live the life that Christ died to give us. Read more about these ideas on the ABOUT page of this website.
Please comment; we love hearing your thoughts and questions.