by Joanie Butman
Considering I only know two Hebrew words, it’s ironic I would employ one before leaving Newark airport. While purchasing food, I realized with dread my credit and ATM cards were still on the photocopier at home. I thought I was so organized copying them in case of a lost or stolen wallet. Stupidly, I took the photocopy just not the cards. Without them, I didn’t exist as far as the hotel in Tel Aviv was concerned. “But I am a child of God” did not fly when trying to check in. What the heck? This is the Holy Land isn’t it? I could’ve had a halo and wings, and they still wouldn’t have given me a room. They don’t fool around when it comes to security in Israel. Thank goodness I was traveling with someone more responsible as well as generous. Now I know why American Express’s motto is “DON’T LEAVE HOME WITHOUT IT!” Wish I remembered it before I left the U.S. or even Capital One’s slogan, “WHAT’S IN YOUR WALLET?” Not much I discovered.
Mastercard and American Express offered no assistance. I eventually reached someone arriving a day later who was able to grab the cards before she departed, or else I would have been mooching off my friends for the next ten days. They would have lived the Christ-centered message of Mishpat that our professor is teaching about, though footing the bill for my travels might be more of ‘a shared life’ than they bargained for.
Other than accommodations, no credit cards wouldn’t have been an issue as shopping wasn’t on my list of things to do in Israel. What I was searching for wasn’t going to be found in a store, nor would I need to worry about payment. As Mastercard so eloquently states, “There are some things money can't buy.” True enough, but a girl’s still got to eat and sleep. Hence the reason for their closer, “For everything else, there's Mastercard" – except when you forget to put it in your wallet.
Being a child of God may not have helped me gain entrance into a hotel without a credit card, but my admission into Heaven is guaranteed, and the reservation has already been paid in full by the most generous, loving friend I know. I won’t even need to present ID because as the Bible says in Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.”
Yes, Jesus knows my name and my heart. With or without credit cards, I could never afford the entrance fee into Heaven. MasterCard and American Express, with whom I have an excellent credit score, could do nothing to solve my predicament in Israel, never mind eternity. However, through the gift of grace Christ overlooks my sketchy spiritual credit score and welcomes me home where He has lovingly prepared a room for me despite my hefty debt. Now, that’s a reservation I don’t plan to miss. How about you? Choose wisely!