Willing to trade?

Passed a church marquee that read, “Jesus takes trade-ins.”

A trade-in is a transaction. Both parties have to be willing to do business. Jesus will exchange my rusty, wreck of a life for a brand-new one free of charge. He already paid the price in full.

It’s a great deal, if I can get past the notion that I’m giving up something worth keeping.   Not recognizing the old life for the decaying wreck that it is, the human tendency is to try to salvage parts we consider still valuable.

But Christianity is an “either/or” proposition. If I’m in Christ, the old has gone, the new has come. The Bible says, If I try to hang on to my life, I lose it. If I lose it for Christ’s sake, I preserve it. (Luke 17:33)

My candy-apple red Volvo V70 provides an excellent auto object lesson. It’s an old car. I need a new one. I’m thinking trade-in…maybe.

My Volvo is about the age of my youngest child. (To be totally honest, it’s not “my” car. Technically, it  has morphed into the “new driver safe car.”) I love the red wagon. It shines like new, despite its full sun parking space. It has buttery leather upholstery (the driver’s seat is a little worn, but the rest is pristine) and heated seats that still heat. It has a sunroof, too, and a good audio system.

The best part is the Volvo sports suspension and peppy zip! When I need to kick it, say to get out of the path of an 18-wheeler on I-40, it’ll flat out go. Need I say more?

Why get rid of the car, if it’s so great?

Time takes its toll. Parts eventually wear out. Recommended repairs amount to more than Kelley Blue Book value. I could make the investment, but one collision with some texting-while-driving dimwit and I could lose the car in a junk yard total.

Gas is another drawback: Premium grade only, currently priced at more than $4 a gallon and climbing. A newer, greener car would practically pay for itself in better gas mileage and warrantied repairs.

In my head, I know hanging on to the old car is blocking a new purchase. In my heart, however, parting with the Volvo is like leaving a dysfunctional relationship. I know there’s no future in it, but it’s familiar like an old pair of slippers I should have tossed long ago.

To go forward, like Paul, I have to start  “Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead…” 

Sooner or later, everyone who is confronted with the Gospel of Jesus Christ has to make a similar decision. Stick with the old life with the hidden issues under the shiny hood or  — in an act of faith  — trade it for the new life Christ offers?

Embracing change means accepting sacrifice, including parting with things we’ve loved. Trade-ins, after all, are package deals. All or nothing. Just as no car dealer is going to accept my Volvo piecemeal  (unless he’s a junk dealer), Christ isn’t looking for partial surrender. He wants it all.

Are you willing to trade?