The Final Cost (It’s Almost Like Free!)

swipe-card-hereIn a recent devotional, I shared my thoughts while I was on a gift cruise aboard the NCL Escape. On the cruise, I noted several diversions that people tried to use to ‘escape’ from their lives’ troubles. When my daughter read the devotional, she said, “Daddy, you need to extend your reflections to included our experience on an earlier cruise.” A momentary prod from her and my memory recaptured the event.

We were standing in a line at the Guest Services counter just hours before the ship returned to our port of departure. The cruise was ending, and there was a line containing many irate passengers. They had received their ship card bill. To their surprise and dismay, it was much larger than they had expected.

Let me offer a probable cause for their ‘sticker shock’. You cannot spend cash on cruise ships. Boarding passengers are given a ship card. Everything from merchandise to soft drinks, from the casinos to alcoholic beverages, is purchased with a simple swipe of the card. For example, a couple may each easily consume six to eight drinks a day. It’s hard to keep track over seven days, especially when you have had a little too much to drink. Averaging $12.95 per drink x 2 for 7 days, the bill comes to over $1080.00 for drinks alone. Add the casino bill and specialty food charges, and the on-board costs soar. It may rival or exceed the initial cost of the cruise. ‘Swipe the card – it’s almost like it’s free’ is the modus operandi. But then comes the bill for the final cost!

There is a powerful analogy to be found in the spiritual realm. Self -pleasing and self-serving people move through the days of their lives using an almost-like-free swipe-it mantra.  As free moral agents, they spend their currency of time and resources as they see fit. Ignoring Biblical principles for Christian living, they waste their substance on temporal things.

Then the final accounting comes. God’s word says, “It is appointed to men once to die and after that the judgment.”  At judgment, the bill for careless and sinful living is death and final separation from God forever. Many people fail to count the cost if their souls should be lost.

Like the people in line on the cruise ship, they will be shocked at the cost. Judas may serve as an example for us. Matthew 27 recounts Judas’ final hours. When he saw what he had done, he was stunned and tried to undo the damage, but to no avail. One translation reads, “When Judas, His betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he changed his mind and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, ‘I have sinned by betraying innocent blood’” (Matthew 27:3-4, ESV). Satan had blinded him to the final consequences of his actions until the last minute. Then it was too late! He threw down the silver with great remorse and stepped into the endless night of a Godless eternity. Forever his soul will dwell where the “fire is not quenched and the worm does not die”. He had let himself to be blinded to the final cost!

(Galatians 6:7, ESV)

~ Brother Roy


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