Simply On Loan
Years ago while attending a small Christian college I was sitting in a chapel service. Chapel was a daily requirement that was not always dearly relished. Many of the messages no longer remain in my memory. The one I am about to share has been embedded clearly in my mind for now over fifty years.
It was during World War II in a rural section of America. A young man was drafted into the army. He and his wife moved away to be near the husband’s military base. Before moving they loaned their washing machine to a neighbor to use while they were away. The neighboring family was made up of a father, mother, two girls and a very young son. Four years went by and the washing machine was used on a regular basis. The young son thought of the washing machine as having always been in their home. The war ended and the couple returned. They came and took the washing machine to their home. The lad in the family which had been using it for all those years was furious. “How dare they take our washing machine!” he exclaimed. His father calmly explained, “It was never ours, they graciously loaned it to us for a while.”
A simple story, not necessarily profound, but one that clearly reminds us of how we cling to things that are temporary. We hold tightly to that which is only on loan as though it were our own. Even life itself. The Bible teaches us to view life from an eternal perspective. The 90th Psalm focuses on the eternity of God and man’s frailty. In light of that theme, this admonition is given in verse 12. “So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” In other words, it is wise to realize the brevity of life.
In the story of the washing machine, the only one angry and distraught was the lad who didn’t know it had been simply on loan. The good news for believers is that we know this life on loan for a while will one day soon become life in full forever.