Follow by Email

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Living without the fine print

I got a couple of those offers in the mail this week that drive me crazy. "Free offer." "No money necessary." "$0 Down and No Interest." The kind that drive me absolutely crazy because when you flip the piece of paper over, there is a solid sheet of fine print explaining why the big, bold letters on the front aren't even remotely true.

The phone offers make me equally crazy. I remember one, back in the days before caller ID helped weed them out. This young lady called the house to offer me a free water softener and a vacation. She called in the middle of a "parenting moment" so she had no idea what she was interrupting. The conversation went something like this:

Rid: "So you're offering me a free water softener and a free 3-day vacation? Is that right?"
Caller: "Yes, sir. It's absolutely free." (Be careful how you use that word absolutely with me.)
Rid: "Great. Let me give you my address so you can send me the softener and the voucher for my vacation."
Caller: (After a long pause). "I'm sorry sir. I'll have to give you a little bit of information about the services we provide and we'll get one of our agents to come to your house and test your water."
Rid: "Then it's not free. You see, you're taking up my time and my time is very valuable to me, especially when I have a child who is waiting to talk to me. And...another thing. If you're agent comes to my house, he's going to sit in my den, use more of my time, run gallons of my water to do his test and even soak up some of my air conditioning. You're costing me a whole lot of money here." There was a long silence. "Now, do you want my address to send me my FREE stuff or are we done here?"

It's the first and only time that I've had a sales rep hang up on me. I felt sweet victory. The fine print had been exposed. And we all have to deal with it. That's why I'm a little understanding of the fact that many of us approach our relationship with Christ as if we are waiting for the fine print.

In Isaiah 55:7 it says: "Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon."

God's offer of grace and mercy is clearly free. It says this all the way through Scripture. Yet, we will read this and then spend the rest of our lives futilely trying to earn what He wants to give us...forgiveness. We'll struggle. We'll strain. We'll spend countless hours trying to earn our way into His plan...which goes completely against His plan. His way has always been that Jesus would pay the price (one we couldn't pay) and that we must receive that gift in faith. It doesn't make sense to us. I know that. Especially living in a culture filled with fine print and hidden clauses. But God knew that too. That's why he inspired the prophet Isaiah to write the next verse as well.

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways..." Relax. God's got it. You and I simply have to receive it in in faith...and then live it with gratitude.

No comments: