No More Payments…

Just after I turned one year old, back in early 1954, my mother and father took out a small life insurance policy on me. The face value of the policy was $1004 and the premium was $50 per year, payable in quarterly installments of $12.50. Anyway, the policy was still in force when Janet and I got married back in 1973 and it was then that we took over the quarterly obligation of paying for this minimal policy.

Throughout the years, as is the case with most couples, we experienced financial highs and lows but through it all, we never cashed in the policy or stopped making payments. Regardless of what else happened, that $12.50 got paid each quarter. A number of years ago, we thought about just turning the policy in and taking the cash to invest. We aren’t talking much money here – remember it was only a $1004 policy to start and the cash value started at zero…

But it just didn’t seem right. In a weird kind of way, I still felt connected to my parents when we made each quarterly payment. It was a way of continuing something that at some point was important to my parents – or they would never have started it in the first place. I guess you could say that I felt like a steward – maintaining something that they started. So, each year I receive an annual statement and it’s kind of fun to watch the policy value climb a little from the previous year. It’s not much – but the dividend is more than the premium we pay!

So imagine my surprise when I received a notice several days ago that the policy is paid in full! That’s right – our December payment was the last one and on March 25, 2018, 64 years after it was taken out, the policy no longer requires an annual payment. It matures a month or so after I turn 65 – and that happens on the 19th of this month…

At first, I was kind of sad. This payment has become a way of life for me – a small discipline – and I somehow derive comfort from it. I called the company to see exactly what would happen when March rolls around. I was told that the policy will be in force as long as I live and I never have to pay another installment. It’s estimated that the dividends will continue to accrue – I never knew that I would ever be able to stop paying!

So, my little New York Life Insurance policy lives on. And I will continue to receive dividends that someday may, in fact, cover my final expenses… How strange to think of that! I wonder if that thought ever crossed Dad’s mind when he took out the policy…

I can’t help but be reminded of the ongoing payments and sacrifices that the people of God made in the Old Testament – the sacrifices of animals that were repeated as an ongoing atonement for sin. It was a way of life for the Jewish nation, much the same as the constant reminder of my quarterly payments to stay in good standing.

But then a strange thing happened. Jesus came and offered Himself as a sacrifice – once and for all. His death covered the sins of the world – not just for a week or a month – but for all time. A one-time sacrifice that would have eternal consequences. A final payment – made on behalf of all of us; one that removed the need for any other payment to ever be made. What a surprise – the ultimate payment on the cross that allowed each of us to directly connect with God eternally – and never suffer eternal separation from Him. Coincidentally, I am also reminded of the fact that I never have to make another payment on my policy – the final payment has been made – for all time, yet I will receive the benefits for the rest of my life. A nice gift, but nothing compared to eternity with God!

The verse for tonight is the one that contains the last phrase of Jesus on the cross. His announcement that His work was done – the sacrifice was over. The apostle John, the one Jesus loved, tells us in his Gospel, in John 19:30, “When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.”

That final phrase, “gave up His spirit” tells us that Jesus chose the time of His death. He controlled the circumstances. His act of sacrifice was at the timing of Jesus and the Father – not the soldiers or any other outside force. Jesus was in control – but always catered to the will of His Father.

My encouragement this evening is that Jesus is still in control. He has paid the price for us – for all time. My prayer is that we will all humbly accept the offer of eternal life with Him. No more payments are needed. It is, indeed, finished. Paid in full – yet we get to reap the benefits of our relationship with Him forever. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…

 
 
 
 

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