the catch

A number I don’t know on my cell.

I should know better than to answer,
But I do anyways.

Some guy from an awards claims center promising me my choice of 500$ cash, a Hawiaan vacation, or a new car.
I immediately looked for my out.
But he did have my name and cell phone number and claimed I registered at a Rangers game.
But I did go to a Rangers game.
And when I was little I used to dream of Ed McMahan showing up at my door with a big giant check and a television crew. With balloons and confetti.
I mean somebody had to win the publishers clearning house. Why couldn’t it be me?
So I kept listening.
Little did I know that during my three minute phone conversation with a poor unfortunate soul in a calling center, that my son was coloring all the drawer knobs black with a sharpie in the kitchen.
And he assured me that one of those glorious prizes was mine.
And I didn’t jump up and down.
My heart didn’t race.
I didn’t go to my door and look for Ed McMahan.
All I did was wait for the catch.

For him to ask me to send him an inordinate amount of money.
Or tell me about some Nigerian prince who just needed my help.
Or ask me to sign over my soul and social security number.
And it didn’t take long.
Only about three minutes.
For him to tell me to come visit his time share resort in the middle of nowhere to claim my guaranteed prize.
And I immediately said, “Sorry buddy. You can keep my car and my dream vacation, I have to go make dinner.”

Because I know how that story ends.
And I will not be duped.
Or tricked into spending hours on a tour of his time share.
Because this is the real world.
And Ed McMahon died 2 Junes ago.
And despite however many magazines I ordered,
No one ever showed up on more door step with a giant check.

We learn real fast not to send money to Nigerian princes.
To question someone trying to give us a free gift.
To wait for the catch.
Because there is always a catch.
Which is why I sometimes have such hard time receiving the ridiculous gift of Christ.

Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It's God's gift from start to finish! We don't play the major role. If we did, we'd probably go around bragging that we'd done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing. Ephesians 2:7-10 (The Message)

And there are all kinds of corny anaologies out there about this “gift”.
And plenty of counter argument about faith without works being dead. (thanks to the book of James for jacking with my head). And even some decent commentary from some pretty eloquent skeptics talking about all the strings that are attached.

But it is still a gift.
Free and out right.
Bought and paid for by someone else.
Whether I choose to accept it or do anything with it or to just hang up.

And so today. I hung up on the guy in the call center.
Which I think was a good idea.
Although he did indirectly give me a few new colored-on kitchen knobs.

And as for Christ.
It’s a gift I accepted a long time ago.
But I still have to remind myself to stop looking for the catch.
To not worry about the strings.
To enjoy the gift.
And to keep giving.

(and yes, I think that is actually a smiley face he drew on one of them. I have 4 more not pictured!)


samskat said...

In modern language, it certainly does read like a gimmicky commercial for some too good to be true item...thanks for sharing. (Alcohol should get the marker off...)