I’ve been writing about the trip my wife, Robyn, and I took to Maui in June. Visiting our 50th state had been on our bucket list, though truthfully it was stationed clear at the bottom.
I’m pretty much a homebody at heart, and the airfare, lodging and rental car expense gave me sticker shock. Maybe if I won the lottery, I could justify the cost. But the odds of my winning were miniscule, mostly because I never buy lottery tickets.
Why did we go? It was destiny.
In the 1980s, we bought a timeshare. Like Dave Ramsey, Dave Hinman also advises you never say “yes” to a timeshare come-on. Besides the exorbitant purchase price, there are annual maintenance fees and other strings attached. We’ve had the financial burden cemented to our budget ever since.
Our timeshare also keeps migrating from one management company, to the next. I’m not sure how many times we’ve had to “upgrade”, every time costing us more money. And once you own one of these things, you’re stuck with it, for life it seems. Perhaps for eternity.
Last year, while joining yet another new organization overseeing the timeshare, they gave us what Don Corleone would call “an offer he can’t refuse”, and so I didn’t. We succumbed to the “enhanced membership” pitch, that included their special, one-time only, “Free Dream Vacation.” Initially I thought, “Yea, right.”
The offer was good for one year, detailed on seven glossy one-pagers, tucked neatly in a cheap folder. These were seven supposedly free vacations to pick from. Based on previous experience, we knew that “free” would be anything but.
So, we buried the offer in our timeshare file, along with about 20 pages of legal documents and a paid receipt, likely never to be visited again.
Eight months later we got a call from the new timeshare company, asking if we had questions about the Dream Vacation, and when we’d be using it. Feeling pressured and suspicious, I got a bit belligerent asking for details about what exactly was included if we selected the trip to Maui.
“Airfare?” I queried. Two roundtrip tickets from Columbus.
“Lodging?” A two-bedroom condo, not on the beach, but just across the street from the beach.
“Rental car?” A new Hyundai Elantra for $30 a day.
“Any excursions included?” An upscale luau and a guided tour on the Road to Hana.
I replied with a pleasantly surprised, “Really?”, and Robyn chimed in, “Let’s go!” And our adventure to paradise has now become cherished memories of a magnificent time spent together.
We’re talking about a return trip someday, perhaps in 2029 to celebrate our 50th anniversary. This assumes “the Lord tarries” though, as some term it. Folks noting this disclaimer are your Bible-believing people of faith. By it, we’re referring to the return of Christ to rescue the Church from the evil corruption in the world.
Known as eschatology, there is much to-do in the scriptures about the end times and Jesus coming back. For those who believe the Bible, it’s undeniable.
Did you know there are approximately 150 chapters throughout the Bible about Jesus’ second coming?
Prophesies about His return are in the Old Testament books of Psalms, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and Joel, to name just a few.
The last book of the Bible, Revelation, is focused on it exclusively. The New Testament Epistle of 1 Thessalonians is replete with Paul’s prophetic prognostications, and Jesus’ Olivet Discourse, recorded in Matthew, Mark and Luke, is His personal teaching on the subject.
Why is eschatology important? There truly is evil permeating our world, and it is escalating rapidly. An evil that’s bent on depleting provided resources, breeding antagonistic discord, and pursuing deceptive aggrandizement. God’s inimitable creation, left to human stewardship, is crumbling around us; out of control; coming down.
Our rescue seems imminent. Christ, our Savior, will be returning to renounce the evil, redeem the planet, and reestablish His kingdom to a literal heaven on earth.
Now listen please: whether you are judged as eternally complicit with the evil He will overcome, or are pardoned by the mercy of God, is contingent solely on seeking Jesus for forgiveness and submitting your life to His sovereignty.
Seriously, that’s it. The fulfillment of prophesy we’re witnessing about us these days, is God wooing us to abandon our self-absorbed worship, and yield ourselves to Him instead.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3:16,17)
So, though Robyn and I want to go back to Maui again, we are especially eager for Jesus’ return trip!
Feel free to email me if you’d like more information about believing in Jesus, OK?
Dave Hinman is Pastor Emeritus at Dove Church Wilmington. Reach him at [email protected] .
This weekly column is provided to the News Journal on a monthly rotation basis by members of the Wilmington Area Ministerial Association.