nothing in life is free

Just yesterday Cheryl and I had our first "big" shower. Tons of gifts, tons of cake, and just general merry making. The coolest thing about it was that now most of the church knows Cheryl is not a figment of my imagination. RUMC is more than generous - not just with the gifts, but with the words. As one dear woman told me, "Jack, she deserves you. And I don't say that lightly. I'm a yankee and I choose my words carefully down here." Ha!!

Well, after my roomie and Dad helped me move all this stuff into Justin's room (the designation for one of our spare bedrooms because thats where Justin slept) I got to reflect a bit on what it meant for RUMC to be so generous.

You know, nothing in life is free. There are lots of things you can find in this life that come at no cost to you, but everything has a price. A few places this is true:

- Salvation. To be right with God is going to take some work. When Jesus died for our sins, someone paid for those sins. Dietrich Bonhoffer (sp?) warned against what he called "cheap grace" - grace that doesn't cost anything. And you might say "oh yes Jack, I know my salvation cost Jesus very much" but that isn't where I'm going with this. I'm saying that costly grace (DB's better alternative) is a grace that costs me too. To turn your life completely around from sinful to holy is gut-wrenching. There is nothing soft and carefree about it. The slight euphoria that accompanies a new Christian has long left me. I won't pretend that I can coast along, and I hope you won't either.

- The environment. You know, its great to say you want a president that is green. Its awesome you support business that recycle. but somewhere, sometime, you are going to have to start living differently. I might want to stop flushing that toilet five times a day (in my house, one toilet gobbles 2 gallons a flush). I might need to turn off lights and stop flying planes. To support a bunch of people or businesses because they are green and then not be green yourself is being a big fat hypocrite. I have no other word for it.

- Relationships. People can't stop telling me how much I'm going to enjoy being married. Yadda yadda yadda. Women come up and tell me how lucky I am to have Cheryl. Guys come up and make jokes about the old ball and chain (which btw, is guys way of saying "you are really going to enjoy being married" Great, yeah...married. I am looking forward to it, I am. But I will not act like the day after our wedding I'll suddenly be able to read Cheryl's mind. Its going to take work, for me and for her. And I'll keep working at it because I love her. Only a fool would equate knowledge of another human being with love. (does the US Government love you more if they know what you are doing all the time?)

Isn't this true with everything in life? That the good things take work? The free things (even if they cost SOMEone something) always end up trying to be shortcuts. Work and time. Its a slight glimpse into just how much God loves us. Love facilitates change.

Might make you have to think twice about what it means to spend eternity with God, right?