Grace: Impossible to purchase

by DanWolgemuth on April 9, 2010

April 9, 2010

I had clicked through all of the appropriate and necessary screens, and now I was on the final confirmation page. The expected costs were illuminated, the credit card information entered, and then one final question.

While I don’t remember the wording of the question verbatim, I do remember the gist. "If you would like to upgrade to elite status for this flight, indicate here."

I don’t remember exactly the cost for this upgrade…$25 or $35 I think, but what I do remember is how it made me react.

Elite Status was designed to be a specific grace dispensed for travelers, who out of loyalty and patronage had been bestowed with the privileges granted by a grateful airline. Now, for a nominal fee, you can purchase this status… you can buy this favor… you can replace loyalty with cash.

As I stared into the screen on my laptop, I was struck by the implications of this reality, and appalled at the revelation that it exposed.

Loyalty has a cycle of maturity that simply takes too long. In the mind of the dispenser… a grace given for commitment demonstrated can now become a profit center. Status is no longer granted; it’s bought. Appreciation can be purchased.

No longer are the individuals at the front of the line those that are road weary and security line tested. The individuals at the front may have cut in line to get there; or rather paid additional price to get there.

And besides all of that… this practice now cheapens the grace that used to be a reflection of a grateful vendor. Frankly, it changes everything about the status, the experience and the intended consequences of the program.

"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." ~ Ephesians 2:8, 9 (ESV)

God has us figured out. He knows that grace bought, or earned, or purchased produces a very different result in our heart and mind.

By grace… no $25 check box. No up-charge on my credit card.

"Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!" ~ 2 Corinthians 9:15

"…he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy." ~ Titus 3:5

Our status is impossible for us to purchase, but it is secure in the hands of our Savior.

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