Marilyn and I have been happily married for over 47 years. Throughout our relationship, I’m the one who usually shakes things up with announcements like, “I’m thinking about starting my own business”, or “I believe we should start a new church in Lancaster”. Incredibly, as we discussed these “wild adventures”, Marilyn, after several days and a lot of deep breaths, has always agreed to partner with me. To her credit, she is an “all in” girl. As soon as she agreed, she’d roll up her sleeves and get to work.
So when she approached me recently with her own life-changing request—“Ron, this kitchen is over 40 years old; it’s time for a new kitchen!”—I knew there was only one response, roll up my sleeves and say, “Let’s get started!”
Eventually our discussion came around to how we might pay for a new kitchen. I don’t mean to brag, but in 47 years, I’ve learned how to say the right thing at the right time. Or should I say, I’ve learned to not say the wrong thing at the right time. My brain was screaming, “A new kitchen costs as much as the new pickup truck I want!” But what I realize now was only by the grace of God, I meekly suggested, “Let’s do it!”
I was slightly taken aback when she casually suggested I advertise a few of my toys for sale. “You mean the Sunbeam???”, I reckoned aloud (a British sports car, I restored several years ago). “Yes, and the car dolly…” which was her reference to a seldom used device I purchased just in case I needed to tow my little car to far-off car shows.
Hmm…now it was getting serious. She’d ask me to put some skin in the game!
She gently reminded me of the day, a few years back, when I walked through our 40-year-old kitchen and glibly announced, “Hey, guess what? I just bought Jack’s old Sunbeam!” Now, in her ever-present grace, she reminded me how displeased she was I’d purchased it on a whim without including her in the discussion. I knew the die was cast.
“For sale – 1967 Sunbeam Alpine…” the sales ad began. “For sale – EZ Tow car dolly…” the second ad proclaimed.
Immediate responses from both ads confirmed what I had secretly feared—there are other men out there who are subject to the same demons with which I wrestle. But then it occurred to me how fortunate I am to exchange something I enjoy for that which we both can enjoy; that something as lifeless as a sports car can be reborn into a kitchen—exchanging a sports car for a great place to enjoy morning coffee and late night snacks—a place we’ll proudly open to our friends and family. Not to mention, the car only has two seats; our new kitchen will have 12.
As I write this, I realize what I first imagined as a personal sacrifice is really no sacrifice at all. I enjoyed my sports car, but it’s importance in no way compares to Marilyn’s happiness. I didn’t sacrifice a thing; I was blessed to have the car for the time I did and soon I’ll be blessed with a new kitchen.
In great contrast, I’m reminded of our Savior who had it all going for him in heaven. But then He—well, instead of me describing it, here it is straight from the pages of your Bible:
“He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that: a crucifixion. Because of that obedience, God lifted him high and honored him far beyond anyone or anything, ever…” Philippians 2:6-9
It just occurred to me, Jesus’ sacrifice results in an open invitation to join him at a very special meal together called, “The Marriage Supper”. Well, look at that! Jesus invited you and I to see His new kitchen, and, for you and I, it doesn’t cost a dime! Hope to see you there. RG