“Shut The Door!”
You will likely be hearing a great deal about “financial literacy” in the months and years to come. Financial responsibility has always been important, but cultural trends have made it more difficult for parents and grandparents to pass down basic management skills. So “financial literacy” is being included in school curriculums from kindergarten to college.
For years, the routine remained pretty much the same. After finding a job people received their first paycheck. They opened a bank account, cashed their check, deposited what they could in savings and kept the rest in their pocket for their daily needs. Some had running tabs at local gas stations and department stores, but they paid them off as soon as possible.
In my home as a child, there was always a clear line between how much something cost and how my behavior affected the bottom line. If I held the front door of our house open too long on a winter day my father would yell out, “Shut the door!” Why? Because he didn’t want to heat the whole neighborhood.
Now, the line is not so clear. Our paychecks go directly to the bank. We use debit cards and credit cards to purchase items at the store, unless we shop online. And taking money out of savings is as easy as the click of a button. We can pay our bills by direct deposit, which further distances us from the cost of living. Some people have told me they don’t check on their paycheck or bill amounts much anymore. They just pull up their balance to see what they have left.
In addition to these cultural realities, if others are paying for some of our needs, we can become totally detached from our true circumstances. If we exceed the data package on our cell phone, we’ll never know unless the people paying the bill complain. There is little motivation to turn off a light when we leave a room. Or…
“Shut the door! You’re heating the whole neighborhood!”
It’s a fact of life. The more removed we are from what something costs, the less we care about what we are spending.
Perhaps this is why Jesus never shied away from the cost of grace. Jesus personally paid our debt of sin with the blood He shed on the cross. When we receive it, it comes to us free of charge. There is no point in trying to repay Jesus for His gift since we couldn’t match His level of sacrifice if we tried. This is the nature of grace.
Although we can’t pay for grace received, it does impact our future in a major way. For the rest of our lives we demonstrate our gratitude to Jesus by putting Him first and by looking for opportunities to serve in His name. We don’t do these things out of guilt, or with the false notion we are balancing a redemptive ledger sheet in heaven. We do them because the cost of our salvation reminds us of the depth of God’s love and the value of grace.
This is why we should never become detached from the things Jesus did to rescue us. It is the reason He asked us to eat the bread and drink the cup, representing His body and blood given for us at Calvary (1 Corinthians 11:23-26). It is why Paul asked the Ephesian Elders to care for God’s precious flock, the church (Acts 20:28). And it is why we need to live pure lives (1 Corinthians 6:20).
Not really funny.
It’s sad, really.
Jesus, who purchased our gift of grace with His own blood is often pushed aside by the things we don’t believe we can live without (but probably could).
I would like to challenge you with something. When you have an opportunity meditate on some of the ways your life is being poured out. Line up the receipts that line your pockets. Go to your Facebook page and reflect on your GPS trail. Consider where you spend most of your time. Ask yourself these questions:
• What does my accounting say about my priorities?
• What am I teaching my children about what is important?
• What kind of example am I setting for others who look up to me as a committed believer?
• How many times a day do I stop to think about what Jesus did for me?
• How many of my words and actions are guided by my reflections on the cross?
• Do my actions match my words? My public prayers? My self-perceptions?
I am not one to remove myself from the world. I remember the old adage that says, “He was so heavenly minded he was of no worldly good.” On the other hand, I think we could all do with a little more detachment from the world and a little more (or a lot more) attachment to the cross.
Perhaps our GPS should be permanently pinned to Calvary.
It might be time to “shut the door” so the life God has redeemed isn’t used to fuel the world.