by Joanie Butman
Last week’s blog was a departure from my mostly light-hearted dishing on the Divine. However, I think the passion of Christ deserves serious reflection before we race past Easter searching for the proverbial golden egg. Why? Because hopefully it changes us - and not externally like those extra pounds from all the jellybeans and chocolate. Christ’s sacrificial act of love transforms us on the inside at the core (or crux) of our being, which alters the way we choose to live. When we fully understand what Christ did for us, we invite Him to take up residence in our hearts and become the landLORD of our lives. Think of the process as filling the emptiness at the center of a chocolate Easter bunny. Jesus becomes the sweetest part.
Speaking of landlords, my daughter is in the process of renting a new apartment in New York City. When she began her search, the stark reality that she couldn’t “qualify” for an apartment without a guarantor quickly became apparent. Every listing she called about required an annual salary of 40-80X the monthly rent before they’d even agree to a showing. Keep in mind these apartments were nothing fancy. Most were shoebox-sized walkups with few or no amenities – like windows or a kitchen that didn’t double as a living room.
Consequently, my husband and I consented to be guarantors on her lease. As such, we had to agree to a LONG list of rules and regulations governing the building. We will have to be on our best behavior at all times. The application process also required that we provide more references and financials than Trump did. In fact, when they pressed us to provide our tax documents, I responded, “Listen, if Donald Trump doesn’t have to release his returns, we certainly don’t.” In typical New York fashion, the realtor replied unfazed, “Yeah, that’s not going to fly in New York.” Reluctantly, I sent them the next day.
I laughed when I reviewed the voluminous list of rules. A majority of us can’t even remember, never mind satisfy, the ten rules Moses passed down, which is exactly why Jesus had to go to the cross. In the short run, anyone can follow rules so they don’t get in trouble, as we will when visiting Hannah. Most of us are fairly good at that – at least when someone’s watching. The Pharisees were experts. But the divine transaction that happened on the cross changes our motivation. We no longer obey rules to earn God’s love and salvation. We do it out of loving gratitude because we already have it. More importantly, thanks to Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf, we don’t live under threat of eviction for failing to abide by a strict code of rules, which we will never be able to satisfy perfectly.
What's even better is that we don’t have to submit an application, nor is there anything we could reveal to the Board (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) that they don’t already know about us. Jesus is our Divine reference. Perhaps I should have listed Him on our apartment application, though I don’t think they’d appreciate my sense of humor anymore than they appreciated the Trump comment.
Hannah will eventually be able to qualify on her own (we hope), but sadly we won’t. Our stark reality is that we could never afford the fee required for our Heavenly home. It is only with Christ as our Guarantor that we are assured of our worthiness and our place in Heaven where the accommodations (and the view) will surpass anything we could imagine.
My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. (John 14:2-3)
The jury is still out on our application. Whether or not we’re approved is a moot issue though because we know who our real landLORD is. It is only with Him that we can find our true home in whatever apartment building deems us worthy. I only ask that it have an elevator and a laundry room!
Who do you choose as your landlord?