Starting with a move just before my eighteenth birthday, I’ve lived my entire adult life in major cities. The prospect, energy and opportunity inspire. However, there’s a subtle trade off. Something that quickly becomes apparent is—unless your father is Trump—you can’t own much.
In a city like New York, for example, you’ll probably move every one to two years on average just to get the best bang for your there, used, gone dollar. The hour you spend in a restaurant grants you the privilege to enjoy their special ambience, eat their food—which will only stay with you for so long—and then leave when your societally allotted time is up and the next patron awaits their turn.
Your pass to ride the underground transportation system allows you to get on, get there and get off— no more. You can never purchase your own train car. In most cities you’re not even permitted to stay in the train overnight. Even with an unlimited pass, you might have the illusion that you own transportation; it’s only your right to use it. And then, only in 30-day increments, much like your apartment (or room) is unlimitedly yours for the period for which you pay up. There is no life-long membership, as there isn’t for your JCC gym, your car insurance or health insurance, your utilities, or your cell phone (even with unlimited data).
Supposing you decide to buy a home, you don’t have that free and clear either — there’s property tax, home owner’s insurance, maintenance costs. And unless you go into international hiding and avoid most kinds of standard fees, your life is mostly doled out in allotted measures for which you perpetually pay.
Perhaps the world and our bodies are made for transience: everything somehow comes down to rent. Maybe that’s just capitalism at its best. Regardless, few things in this world are paid once with lasting value. Psalm 40:6–8 reads,
“Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. Then I said, ‘Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll—I have come to do your will, my God.’”
As a Jewish believer in Jesus, I derive supreme joy in something that I do have: eternal rightness before God through the one-time sacrifice of Jesus, His messiah. I love that the sacrificial, “rental,” system is no longer used. I have a lasting way of maintaining my relationship with the God who wants to be eternally near his creation. I don’t have to keep paying, because he paid it all.
Want to turn in your religious “lease” of good works, and accept the free, permanent salvation God always intended for us to have? Let us know!