The Cost of Your Stay Will be Your Wallet

by | May 21, 2006 | Experiencing God, Salvation, Victory

By the time we arrived in Drumheller, Alberta, we were already mesmerized by the unusual, rugged beauty of the Badlands. “This is the place where they found thousands of dinosaur skeletons.” I mentioned to my eager-to-get-out-of-the-car kids.

“That’s nice,” was their unimpressed response. But then the excitement crept back into their voices: “What kinds of activities are there at the campground? Is there a pool? Mini-golf? Horseshoes?”

The campground where we had made our reservations actually sounded pretty exciting on paper, and as we drove the last few kilometers, I read through the description. My wife concluded the list by saying, “We’re staying here three nights. You guys can put up your tent, if you want!”

After having had to spend the last two nights in the tent trailer, they were excited by this prospect, and we entered the campground office in a jolly mood, completely unaware of what we were up against.

“It will be $52.43 per night, taxes included, naturally.”

The campground employee stated this as if it was purely matter-of-fact, but to a family who was used to paying between 20$ and 30$ for a camping spot, it was far from matter-of-fact: “$52.43!!!!!” I cried. “You must be kidding! There must be a mistake somewhere. We only have a tent-trailer, and all we need is water and electricity!”

But my arguing got us nowhere. “Sorry, sir, all of our sites have all amenities (whatever that means). It’s a long weekend and . . . And you DO have two kids . . .”

I couldn’t keep the incredibility from my voice: “What do my kids have to do with this?”

“We charge more if you have children. 5$ per child per night.”

I realized my mouth was hanging open and I made a manful effort to close it. “Kids,” I said, trying to lighten the burden of truth with a joke, “you will have to sleep in the car outside of the campground tonight!” Then turning back to the attendant, I asked: “Can we get a discount now?”

My boys eyed me suspiciously. You could read their thoughts on their faces: Would he dare?

“Sorry sir. It still will be $52.43 per night, no matter where your kids sleep.”

Yikes! And I had reserved three nights at that campground!

“And please remember not to put a doormat or anything else on our grass, otherwise you will be fined.”

I couldn’t stop myself: “Can we step on your grass for free or is there a fee for that too?”


As we began the process of setting up our trailer, my boys, naturally, wanted to pitch their tent as well. “Can we, papa? Can we?”

“I don’t know,” my wife interjected, her voice echoing caution. “Maybe you’d better check at the office, first!”

They had already met the attendant at the front desk, and none of us could blame them when they said, “Do we have to?”

“I think you better!” Insisted my wife. “They don’t want us putting down mats, maybe they won’t want us putting down a tent either!”

Ten minutes later, unsmiling boys were back.

“You won’t believe this! They charge $15 a night to pitch an extra tent on a site!” You could see that they were crushed. “No other campground we’ve been to has ever charged us for putting up our tent!”

“Well, we aren’t at one of those other campgrounds,” I concluded. “We are here in the very special dinosaur valley of Alberta, where hundreds and thousands of tourists flock every year, and they are obviously trying to collect all the necessary funds to start digging for their own oil!”

My wife, who had been reading the long list of campground rules, looked up at this point: “Did you know that we have to pay to use the dumping station?”

I looked at her, my mouth gaping. We’d never had to pay to empty our port-a-potty before!

“5$!” Finished my wife.

“I have an idea, papa.” It was my oldest. “We have ‘all amenities’ on this site. Doesn’t that mean sewer? Why don’t we dump our port-a-potty in the sewer outlet? They couldn’t charge us then, could they?”

What an ingenious idea. In fact, there had been a sewer connection at most of the campsites we had stayed in. Why hadn’t we thought of this before? At least the 5$ dumping fee had taught us something! No longer would we have to parade around a campground displaying our overflowing, smelly portable toilet! “Great idea, son!”

Other campground costs were soon to be discovered as well. $2.50 per laundry load (instead of the typical $1.25), $1 for a 5 minute shower (was heat extra?), $1 rental for one horseshoe….

“It would have been cheaper to sleep at a hotel!” Piped up my son.

“You’re right!” I agreed. “But we’re here now, so let’s try to make the best of it.”

Although the campground was beautiful, all of the expenses had diminished our enthusiasm. In fact, when we finally left, the boys were rejoicing: “Tonight, we’ll be able to set up our tent FOR FREE!!!!”

All things in life have a cost. Some things cost more than others, but nothing is free, not in this world. There are always strings attached.

The most expensive item I have ever encountered in life is something called sin. Most of us would rather live without it, but we don’t have that choice. And its price tag is well hidden from view, too. The reason we are all affected by it is as follows: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” (Rom 3:23 NIV)

For some of us, this disease manifests itself through thefts, no matter how insignificant they may be. Others are more inclined to lying. Still others are affected through pornography. The list could go on and on and on, but only one thing though is clear: sin is not easy to shake off. It clings to us, often turning into lifelong addictions.

“But what is the hidden cost?”

It is expensive, believe me. Its price tag is more than all of your possessions combined: “For the wages of sin is death…” (Rom 6:23 NIV)

“But is there any way out of this?’

I know of some who tried to live honest lives, but still their actions were infected by sin. The only way out is through Jesus. He willingly paid the price for our sin so that we could experience eternal life: “…but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom 6:23 NIV); and “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom 5:6-8 NIV)

Through Jesus, we can overcome the addictions of sin and live a victorious, forgiven life: “Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” (1 John 5:5 NIV)

He is waiting to help you out. Come and experience Him into your life, and you will wonder why you waited so long to accept Him as your Forever friend!

P. S. Do you need the address of an $$$$$ campground in Alberta? Be prepared by bringing a wallet full of cash!

Rob Chaffart


The Cost of Your Stay Will be Your Wallet