Can I Have a Discount? What For?

by | May 20, 2008 | Christ-in-me, Christ-in-us, Kingdom of Heaven, Priorities, Sons and Daughters of God

We had finally arrived in Seattle. As my family was heading to the baggage claim, I stopped by the Hertz car rental stand to pick up our car. I had reserved this particular full-sized car months earlier, and I already knew that they would have to give me a car with Canadian plates.

Why “Canadian” you might ask? That’s a very good question. I’m still looking for the answer! But for some reason, I had been told that I would not be permitted to cross into Canada with a US licensed vehicle. I guess that there’s something about being Canadian and driving with US license plates that doesn’t mix. Try to figure that one out!

When I had made the reservation, I had been told not to worry, that they always had plenty of cars with Canadian plates to be picked up at the Seattle airport. However when I saw the worried look on the poor clerk’s face as she worked silently and diligently over her computer, I began to worry. But then she made a call, and with a sigh of relief, she informed me that they had finally located an automobile with Canadian plates. The only one on the lot!

“But I was told you had plenty of them,” I said.

She looked at me as if she wondered what planet I might be from, so I quickly zipped my mouth shut. There are times it is wiser to use silence! (I’m sure my wife wishes I would be wiser more often!)

“There’s only one problem,” she said. “It’s a midsize car. A Lincoln SUV.”

My eyes opened wide. I had specifically ordered a full-size vehicle because my two boys are well-passed the baby stages (Being fourteen and twelve would qualify, don’t you think? But then some of you may disagree with me . . .). Would we all be able to fit in just a mid-sized car??? But then, it was the only car on the lot that we could take back into Canada . . .

“Can I have a discount?” I asked.

Her eyes grew wide with astonishment and I could tell she was biting her tongue as she answered: “What for? You are being offered an upgrade for free.”

“An upgrade? For free?”

I had no idea that SUVs were upgrades, nor did I know that they generally cost far more than what I had been quoted for my full-sized car. I was smiling broadly as I said, “It’s a deal!”

But she was still looking at me suspiciously. What had I said this time???

When we finally took position of the vehicle, we couldn’t help but “ooh” and “ahh” at our good turn of events. Not only was it an SUV with ample luggage and leg space, it was also loaded with every gadget possible. Double sunroofs that could be opened for fresh air-if it wasn’t raining, that is (We wondered at the time why there were “Don’t try to open in Alaska” stickers plastered all over the controls . . .). To my wife’s delight, there was also dual air-conditioning controls. Of course, my youngest son wished there were quadruple controls! There was also a stereo that was able to hold 6 CDs at the same time (Of not much use. How can you listen to 6 CDs at the same time?), there was a temperamental GPS, a remote-controlled hatch opener that turned us into lazy bums, temperature gauges indicating the temperature inside and outside, a… Wait a minute! I am not being paid here to deliver advertisements! In fact I am not paid for this at all! What am I doing here?

When we first loaded ourselves into the car, we told ourselves to be very careful. This car belonged to Hertz, not to us, and we needed to treat it with utter respect. I gave each of my sons a wax cloth. Whenever we stopped in a rest area, they were to both spend their time waxing the car, one in the inside and one at the outside. They never actually got the chance to do this, however. We realized after the first two hours that we had rented this outstanding car for the duration of our trip. In other words, we had paid for its use and it was ours for the next 3 weeks and two days. It is true, at the end of that time, a unmerciful reckoning would take place if returned in more than one pieces. But otherwise, it was our vehicle for the duration!

Too often we think of God’s kingdom in the same way as a rented automobile. We perceive that it isn’t ours until Jesus finally returns in his cloud of angels. We assume God’s kingdom to be in the future, and we moan and groan about our temporary accommodations. However, if we take the time to carefully read God’s Word, Jesus refers to His kingdom, not in future tense, but in the present tense. It isn’t science fiction! It’s a present reality!

“I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” (John 3:3 NIV)

Notice Jesus does not say: “No one will see the kingdom of God…” Instead he emphasizes the present tense “can see”.

When exploring this reality more deeply, we notice that this world is ours, and the usurper is the one and only Lucifer and his followers.

“The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away.” (Matt 13:24-25 NIV)

Who is that enemy?

“The enemy who sows them is the devil.” (Matt 13:39 NIV)

We live in the kingdom right now. It is true that the usurpers are turning this world into a living hell, but they are not the legal residents. We are! Instead of giving up when confronted by evil all around us, we should mobilize the real residents to make this world worth living in!

Worries are worthless. Instead let us depend on the King of this planet and follow His example by reaching out for worthwhile eternal purposes.

“So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ Or ‘What shall we drink?’ Or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matt 6:31-33 NIV)

Where is the kingdom of God? It is all around you and in you. We live in a property that belongs to our Heavenly Father and because we are sons and daughters of the Almighty, His kingdom is not futuristic. It exists now and we are part of it.

“Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:20-21 NIV)

Gadgets are nice, but what counts the most when renting a car is that it runs and lives according its purpose. Don’t you think?

P. S. Have you found a carburetor on the side of the road, by any chance?

Rob Chaffart


Can I Have a Discount? What For?