Max Lucado tells the story of being dropped by his insurance company because he had one too many speeding tickets and a minor fender bender that wasn't his fault. One day he received a letter in the mail, informing him to seek coverage elsewhere. As he reflected on how he wasn't good enough for his insurance company, the spiritual tie-in was too obvious. "Many people fear receiving such a letter [from God]," Lucado writes. "Some worry they already have."
Lucado then imagines this correspondence, straight from the Pearly Gates Underwriting Division:
Dear Mrs. Smith,
I'm writing in response to this morning's request for forgiveness. I'm sorry to inform you that you have reached your quota of sins. Our records show that, since employing our services, you have erred seven times in the area of greed, and your prayer life is substandard when compared to others of like age and circumstance.
Further review reveals that your understanding of doctrine is in the lower 20 percentile and you have excessive tendencies to gossip. Because of your sins you are a high-risk candidate for heaven. You understand that grace has its limits. Jesus sends his regrets and kindest regards and hopes that you will find some other form of coverage.
I’ve been dropped by an insurance company, too. It’s a helpless feeling to receive a letter in the mail, kicked out by some computer somewhere that has been programmed to sound the alarm as soon as my insurability has dropped below acceptable standards.
It doesn’t lead to a very trusting relationship with an insurance company. But then, that’s expecting a little too much from an insurance company. Despite all the commercials about being “in good hands” or a company being “on your side,” our relationship with our insurers is not based on trust, it’s based on numbers.
Unfortunately we often feel the same way about our relationship with God, thus the imagined letter from Lucado. This Sunday’s message proclaims the good news that Jesus can be trusted. And since he can be trusted, we can let him see us as we are.