Wednesday, September 14, 2022

The Lincoln Navigator

My An Arkie's Faith column from the September 14, 2022, issue of The Polk County Pulse.

I was busy installing a windshield when the phone rang. It seems that if I am applying the urethane to a vehicle or setting a windshield in place, there is a good chance that the phone will ring. I laid down my urethane caulk gun and picked up the phone. "Last night, I broke the window in my Lincoln Navigator, and it has shattered into a thousand pieces," said the voice on the other end. "I need to get it replaced before it rains. How much will it cost?" "Let me get into the office where I can look it up," I answered. After getting all the information and pricing the glass, I told him, "That is an expensive piece of glass. It will cost $550.00 for the glass and installation. My supplier has the glass in stock, and I can have the glass here on Tuesday." "Well, I have to have it," he answered. "Go ahead and order it, and I will bring the Lincoln in on Tuesday to get the work done. Do you want me to come by and pay for it before you place the order?" I told him that it wasn't necessary to pay for it before I completed the job.

About an hour later, the customer with the Lincoln Navigator drove up to my shop. "I want to pay you for the glass," he said. I told him that it wasn't necessary, but he insisted. "Thank you," I said. "That is very thoughtful of you." He wrote me a check, handed it to me, and drove away.

My supplier delivered the Lincoln glass to my storage unit in DeQueen, and on Tuesday morning, I drove to DeQueen and picked up the glass. We had scheduled the job for Tuesday, but the customer didn't show up to get the glass installed. It was a busy day, and I didn't have time to think about it until late that afternoon. I called the customer but only got his voicemail. I left a message telling him that the glass was in and asked him to give me a call to reschedule. I thought it was unusual because it had been so important to him to replace the glass before it rained, but I didn't worry about it because he had prepaid for the job. I didn't hear from him for the rest of the week.

Two weeks went by before I heard from the customer. Finally, he called, and we made an appointment to install the glass. I was glad to have the job completed, but I was surprised that he waited so long to have the work done, especially since he had already paid for it.

In my warehouse, there are quite a few pieces of glass that customers have special ordered over the years but never came to get the work done. It is a frustrating and costly part of the business. But I also have several pieces of glass that customers have paid for but have never picked up. I am puzzled that someone would pay for a piece of glass and then never pick it up.

I am also puzzled that more people don't accept God's grace since the price is already paid. The Bible is clear that God's grace is a gift. Why don't more people take advantage of the gift? If you were to ask one hundred random people, "how do you get to heaven?" you would hear many different answers. Things like "try to be good and do your best," "work hard at being a good moral person," or "do more good things in life than you do bad things." The basis for each of these ideas is reliance on our abilities and actions. These ideas are not based on the idea that heaven is a gift. People who think they have earned their way and don't need the gift see no need to accept God's grace. 

Many Christians fall into this way of thinking. They believe they can do it themselves and don't need a gift. A survey conducted by the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University finds that fifty-two percent of Americans who describe themselves as Christian believe they can earn their salvation through good works. Because of this mindset, some feel strongly that no one should receive assistance. 

In 1 Corinthians 6:20 (NCV) Paul tells us, "You were bought by God for a price. So honor God with your bodies." God paid the price of his Son to purchase your salvation. "He suffered the things we should have suffered. He took on himself the pain that should have been ours. But we thought God was punishing him. We thought God was wounding him and making him suffer. But the servant was pierced because we had sinned. He was crushed because we had done what was evil. He was punished to make us whole again. His wounds have healed us." Isaiah 53:4,5 (NIRV)

Jesus suffered for you. He took on himself the pain that should have been yours. Your sins were the ones that pierced him. He paid the price to heal you and make you whole. He has paid your debts—all of them. Jesus died for you. If you accept the gift of grace, the stain of sin on your life is washed white as snow.

John 19:28-30 (NCV) tells the story of the last moments of Jesus' life on the cross. "After this, Jesus knew that everything had been done. So that the Scripture would come true, he said, 'I am thirsty.' There was a jar full of vinegar there, so the soldiers soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a branch of a hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus' mouth. When Jesus tasted the vinegar, he said, 'It is finished.' Then he bowed his head and died."

Gentle Reader, Jesus said, "It is finished" on the cross. He paid in full all the costs required to forgive our sins. And when we place our trust in him, our sin debt is forever wiped off the books! We all need the gift of grace. We all need to have the penalty paid for our sins. The Bible says, "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" Romans 3:23 (NIV) and that "the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 6:23 (NKJV) We all need the gift of God, eternal life. "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God." Ephesians 2:8 (NRSV) Don't be too proud to accept the prepaid gift of grace.

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