Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Creation, Corruption and a Camaro

In the beginning, God created everything. He created the earth, sky, plants, animals, trees, and humans. Genesis 2:8 reads, “Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there He put the man He had formed.” After this God created Eve and everything was going great.

One day Satan, in the form of a serpent, talked the couple into disobeying God. When this happened, the intimate relationship between God and humans was damaged. It seemed that Satan had managed to cripple God’s creation. The couple was banished from Eden and more importantly, from the close presence of God.

God exacted the penalty of death upon His creation for their disobedience. Men and women would struggle to reinstate the relationship with God from this point on. The problem was that due to the sinfulness that was so prevalent, they would wander farther away from God with each passing day. Satan continued to lure humans away from God until it seemed there was no way for them to ever fully belong to Him again. Humans were simply incapable of paying the price for restoration.

In 1983, John Schnatter was working in his father’s tavern in Jeffersonville, Indiana. He had the idea to start making pizzas and delivering them from his father’s business. He used the best ingredients, and soon his pizzas were in great demand. However, his father was in danger of losing the tavern, due to financial difficulties, and that would have meant the end of John’s pizza business.

John’s prize possession at the time, was his 1971 ½ Bumblebee striped Camaro Z28, that he delivered pizzas in. He knew that if the family business was to continue, he would have to sell the car. $2,800.00 later he watched the car drive away with a new owner, but his father’s business was saved.

His pizza business was also saved, and “Papa” John Schnatter grew it into one of the largest pizza businesses in the country. However, John never forgot his Camaro. For many years he looked for it, and even hired an ex-FBI agent to help. He finally put up a finders fee of $25,000 to anyone who could find it, and offered $250,000 to purchase it from the new owner. Last year, John was reunited with the car and bought it back for much more than it is actually worth. He now uses the car in some of the commercials for Papa John’s.

God saw His creation the same way as John Schnatter saw his Camaro. Sin took us away from Him, but He never stopped trying to restore the relationship. The sacrificial system didn’t work, the law didn’t work. The only way to bring us back to Him was to redeem us from sin’s grasp.

In the Bible, the word redeem means to “buy back from bondage or death.” God indeed bought us back from our bondage of sin and death. However, the thing that is most humbling is that He paid much more for us than we are worth. Romans 5:7-8 reads, “Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Even though we were righteous or even good, God still redeemed us with His own life.

Knowing this, we should all be willing to do whatever we can for Him and His kingdom. 1 John 3:16-18 tells us, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” We, who are redeemed, should show His love in this world to others and tell them the good news of Christ’s love and grace. Make an effort this week to show your gratitude for His salvation by sharing with someone else.

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NIV)

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