Missing Out

My family and I had a tremendous vacation this month. I am so thankful that I am part of a church family with an army of people available to keep its weekly functions going even when I am gone. Thank you to Donny, Cade, Andrew, and the Eldership for allowing us the opportunity to leave.

Everyone is different, especially when it comes to vacations. Some like to rest and relax. For them, a vacation is there to afford you copious amounts of downtime. Others are “travelers” because they want to experience a different atmosphere and region of the world, taking in the sights and sounds of somewhere they only visit. I feel as though I land in both camps, I like to relax, but I also want to experience new things while I am out and about.

While in southern California, we were also vacationing with our longtime friends, the Darnells, Matt, Beth, and their three children. One of the neat experiences we were able to be a part of was going to SeaWorld. Before going, I had conjured up some visions of a large aquarium with the possibility of an interactive show. I was unsure what to expect, but I know my kids love animals, and this would be a neat way to see animals that are often out of our view.

As we approached the park, the boys immediately noticed some rollercoasters. Theo absolutely loves a good rollercoaster unless it makes him sit alone; he likes the comfort of his mom or dad next to him. Well, this changes our approach. Now we will see sea animals and go on a few rides. As we walked in the front gate, we started noticing signs attached to the lines for the rides that said $6 unless you have a special annual park pass. This observation was devastating because although I am not cheap, I can’t imagine paying $6 per person per ride; for my family of 5, that’s $30 every time we get on a ride! Amanda and I decided to sponsor one ride per child, but they must really want to go on that ride.
The temperature rose as the day wore on, and the kids started to complain. They were hot, tired, and cranky. And no one wanted to pay for the rollercoasters except for me, Matt, and Theo. The wives agreed it was best to take the younger kids back to our rental house, and we would do one ride and then join them. As we approached the ride, we asked how long the wait was and where we would pay our $6. They told us about 15 minutes, and unless we wanted to skip to the front of the line, all rides were included in admission. What?! Of course, they included the rides in the price of admission; it is standard practice nowadays. We felt dumb and ashamed of our ignorance. Our families missed out on one of the best parts of a theme park because we assumed the worst and did not ask any questions. What would have changed if we asked? How would the day have been transformed if we had known what awaited us? Needless to say, Theo got more than one ride, and we stayed a little longer because the rides were free; you only had to get in line.

Many Christians assume they know what is included in the life of following Christ. They think they know what a life devoted to Jesus is all about, but they often miss out on some significant benefits. I can’t tell you how many Christians feel when they assume all responsibility for their salvation. Even though they know that Jesus is their Savior, they think they are responsible for their entrance into Heaven.

It is like going to a theme park and not fully realizing the joy and the freedom of a rollercoaster. The wind in your hair, the exhilaration of zero gravity. God has made some astounding promises in scripture, and we should realize the full benefits without ignoring what He has done for us. Reflect on these verses and ask yourself if you rest in these promises or feel you are still responsible for your salvation. As the old song says, Jesus paid it all, and the entrance fee is there. Do you realize that, or do you feel like you should pay $6 to enjoy the ride? My prayer is that you don’t feel like you are Missing Out.

1 Peter 1:18-19 – “For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And the ransom he paid was not mere gold or silver. 19 It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.”
John 10:29-30 – “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 “I and the Father are one.”
Romans 8:31, 38-39 NASB20 – “31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? … 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Ephesians 3:20 – “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us,”
2 Timothy 4:18 – “The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.”
Jude 1:24-25 – “Now to Him who is able to protect you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory, blameless with great joy, 25 to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority before all time and now and forever. Amen.”