June 13, 2007

The American Dream

So Jenni and I had to sit through a presentation today by Hilton on why we should invest $15,000 - $30,000 in time shares. What's really interesting is how God works through things such as these and how He did so today.

This presentation was great. As a matter of fact, a guy named Ron Johnson was our presenter and he did a great job. He wasn't slick. He wasn't high pressure. He was genuine. When I shared with him at the beginning what I did, he was very interested in hearing more about Upward. Things would end up taking a dramatic shift.

You see, the whole pitch is that you are in hell here on Earth and you need Hilton to relieve you of that hell. Buy their timeshares and you can go to over 7,000 different places, stay in luxury, love life, relax, regenerate, and at the end of it all you could have "The Life".

I have to say, it was very appealing. Very tempting. Very luring. As we sat down at the table where the "deal is closed", Jenni and I talked it over when given the chance and decided to "turn" down the deal. What happened next, I could never have predicted.

You see, Ron lost his wife 28 years ago to suicide. I lost my mother 5 months ago to suicide. Both were bi-polar. Both struggled. Ron spent the entire presentation telling us about his vacations (not pridefully, just describing his life). He told us his plans, where he is going next. 27 days in Rome. 12 days here. 14 days there. All because Hilton's timeshare was so wonderful. And we come to the moment of truth and Ron asks us what our decision is.

We had the option to tell him a lot of things. "Costs too much", "We don't vacation that much", etc etc. But that wasn't at the heart of why we said no. We said no because there is no timeshare, no vacation, no amount of travel, no place here on Earth that can do what the Gospel does for me and even come close to who Jesus is. And when I shared that with Ron, it was as if 1 of 2 things had happened:

1) He was really mad at me because I had just insulted him (I don't know if I did but I hope not)
2) He got hit square between the eyes with what he was putting in his life as a functional savior.

I shared with Ron that my life's goal is to do all I can possibly do to live a life that makes an eternal difference. And while that might mean I don't see all the destinations here on Earth, it does mean that I want my life to count when I stand before Jesus. I told him that to me, vacations weren't the end all be all of my life. And while I could do this (we really could have had we chosen to do so), in the end it's chasing a mirage, a fake.

You should have seen the look on his face. He excused himself from the table, came back a few moments later and asked if I knew the parable of the talents. He truly didn't know and I was able to share with him the meaning of that parable. He then left, got the lady from corporate and it was all over in 5 minutes. No more discussion. No more anything and it ended abruptly. He politely shook hands but you could tell was in a hurry to leave.

It's a dream folks. There's no amount of money, vacation, power, fame, success, comfort, luxury, or anything that can replace the Gospel. And I pray every person who has bought "The American Dream" comes face to face with its absurdity and repents of it.

I can say that today I felt Christlike hurt and love for Ron. He was truly a great guy. I'm going to leave him a message and see if he'll let me have his email address. I hope we get a chance to continue the discussion we started today. He was knocked for a loop today. I hope I get to see where he lands.

Disney World is truy a land where dreams come true. For so many, it's simply a hollow and worthless dream.

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