Tuesday, February 03, 2009

About Replacement Costs

You can judge who deserves the bigger thwhack on the head: the one who left the brand, new cell phone in his pants pocket in the dirty clothes (that would be my 12-year-old son) or the one who washed the pants without checking the pockets (that would be me). So there sits his long-coveted cell phone in black-out mode in a bag of organic brown rice on a counter next to the jar of newly hatched sea monkeys that mysteriously went from seven to one overnight (sniffle, sniffle... more on that later). The Verizon guy said water damaged cell phones occasionally dry out in rice, so that's where we are.

Todd and I resisted the "But everyone else has one" guilt trip for many months before caving in and buying our tween a cell phone. I, personally, viewed with some, dare I say, judgment the accessorizing of our pre-teens with technology they really don't need. But, as our family increasingly fans out like an NYPD SWAT team over Texas ballparks, guitar studios and kenpo dojo's, it was becoming clear that a cell phone might, indeed, serve a purpose.

The Deal We Couldn't Resist

We acquired our son's phone as part of a "sign up" deal that commits us to a service contract and basically throws a nice phone in a minimal or no cost. But we learned yesterday, that the cost of replacing that good deal would be more than $300. So replacement costs are a bugger.

(Todd remembered he still had his "old" cell phone which really isn't that old. It's got a little aluminum finish chipping off and the picture window has a nice-sized crack. But, hey, it turns on! I enthusiastically rushed this over to my son expecting to see a grin of relief. "It works, it WORKS!" I chirped. "Uh, did you notice that has an antenna?" Which left me wondering when antennae became un-cool..)

Salvation: What Are the Replacement Costs?

So, we got this complimentary phone a while back with a service contract. And while the replacements costs are high, the phone could be replaced. I could go to the Verizon store this afternoon, lay down $300, and we could walk away with a new phone. It's not free anymore. But, it is obtainable. I flashed in my mind to things spiritual. Is there a salvation analogy here?

Salvation is free.

You've heard it said, perhaps, that the gift of salvation is free. This is what that means: Jesus Christ died for your sins and rose again. All who trust in this truth are spared an eternity of separation from God. You are saved. You don't have to do tricks. You don't have to perform. You don't have to excel. You don't have to compete for anything. It is yours... free... for the asking. The gift made possible by a merciful and gracious God.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2: 8-9)

But there are no replacements.

Unlike my son's dead cell phone, there is not an option once you die to "sign up" under different contract terms. If you pass on the free gift of salvation and you expire, you have made an irrevocably bad decision. It's something that can't be undone or renegotiated. There's no bargaining or bartering.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

There is but one path to salvation.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

My son fired up Todd's old cell phone last night and got himself a Bon Jovi ringtone. He has reconciled the fact that we will not be smacking down $300 for a Lexus-level cell phone for someone who doesn't even smell of after shave. The shiny, new phone still sits in a bag of rice awaiting a technological miracle of some sort. But it's all good. Cell phone, schmell phone. He's going to heaven and that's the main thing.

Are you?

Photo by b2tse... click here for restrictions.


Jamey White said...

I washed Brian's work furnished Blackberry a few months ago. Same questions came to mind - how is that MY fault - they are YOUR pants? Anyway, phone was VERY clean but never came back to life. Much like those that refuse salvation - there will not be everlasting life.

Work told Brian that the first replacement was free - next thime it gets washed it's $500.00. Yikes - I'm checking pockets like crazy. BTW - Brian is 41, John is 12. They never really grow up!!!

Sarah Onderdonk said...

Oh, Jamey! It's no shocker that I would do such a thing... but you? I'm envisioning a system at your house to prevent the washing of technology... versus my perpetual kind of, uh, randomness as it relates to the running (or limping along) of laundry maintenance (which is my absolute least favorite thing!)

And thank you for that priceless e-mail on "grace"... I laughed so hard... beautiful! I've had two down with the flu and just lots going on, so I'm really slow on e-mail at the moment... but you made me SMILE!

love you!