Guarantees used to be so simple. Some still are, some not so much. The more important the item being guaranteed, the more you’d better be sure you know what it is. The worst thing is THINKING something is guaranteed when it’s not.
I guarantee I’m glad you’ve decided to drop in! Welcome to “Mornings with Bishop Robert” — seriously – thanks for joining me. My goal is to introduce people to the Jesus they never knew, and help them get to know Him and His word personally – and better !
The funniest guarantee I’ve ever seen was from a company that pumps out septic tanks. They claimed to be number one in number two, and promised “Satisfaction guaranteed or DOUBLE your poop back!” I can’t imagine THEY get many complaints.
Land’s End used to have one of the simplest lifetime guarantees in the business. “Guaranteed. Period.” They said, “From sheets to slacks, if you’re dissatisfied with any item, simply return it to us at any time for an exchange or refund of its purchase price. We mean every word of it. Whatever. Whenever. Always. But to make sure this is perfectly clear, we’ve decided to simplify it further: ‘Guaranteed. Period.'” Tough to get much clearer than that. L.L. Bean used to have a similar one. They guaranteed “100% satisfaction in every way. Return anything purchased from us at any time if it proves otherwise.” Both of those policies have changed. Can you guess the reason why?
Well, a no-questions-asked guarantee absolutely depends on ethical customers, and they are getting harder and harder to find. There were people who’d buy old, beat up items with the L.L. Bean brand for pennies in a yard sale and return them only to sell the brand-new items for a massive profit. When someone is making their twenty-third return and has never made a purchase, you don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to figure out that you’re being taken advantage of. People did the same thing with Craftsman tools, which also used to have a policy to repair or replace their hand tools free of charge. But a serious lack of ethics and moral character has become the norm in many parts of our society. People are far too willing to lie, cheat and steal to take unfair advantage of a great guarantee.
God has put His guarantee in today’s verse – GIVE THANKS TO THE LORD FOR HE IS GOOD, HIS LOVINGKINDNESS ENDURES FOREVER
Like any guarantee, it’s important to understand the terms and conditions; they determine the real value. A guarantee that offers a full refund for any item purchased on Thursdays between 3:10-3:14 Greenwich Mean Time IF you return the product in person to Nairobi, Kenya on the third Saturday of a month beginning with the letter “A” is a farce. Too many conditions. And claiming the refund would cost more than you’d receive.
So our first key term in God’s guarantee is LOVINGKINDNESS, which is the item He is attesting to the quality of. The meaning of that word is as simple as it is amazing — totally unmerited favor. But it’s a word that is both simple and profound. As you dig into the meaning of the word, you see an unmistakable element of mercy; forgiveness extended towards the lowly, needy and miserable – even enemies. It characterizes the way God deals with us, even though we have no right or basis to claim His mercy. The bible uses this word – LOVINGKINDNESS – to describe how God delivers us from our troubles and our enemies as they attack. It describes God protecting and preserving our lives; and most especially honoring His covenants and giving us spiritual life.
When quantifying the LOVINGKINDNESS of God, the bible says it is abundant, merciful, good … AND EVERLASTING.
That’s the second key term in God’s guarantee. HIS LOVINGKINDNESS ENDURES FOREVER. No changes or updates, no fine print. It is the best guarantee in the world. Literally the opportunity of a lifetime.
Of course, even the opportunity of a lifetime has to be claimed during the lifetime of the opportunity. I have a coupon for 20% off a purchase at a local store, but it expired last month. Oops! Too late. The lifetime of THIS opportunity expires when yours does. If you want to benefit from God’s lovingkindness, you have to do it while you’re alive. This is not an opportunity where you’re going to want to say “Oops! Too late.” There’s no “next time” on this offer once you’ve dropped your body off at the exit.
The crazy thing is that God’s no-questions-asked guarantee absolutely depends on UN-ethical customers. People who come to Him and admit to their need, their sin, their absolute failure. Perfect folk (or those who think they are) need not apply. The ones who think they are “good enough” and don’t ask for His forgiveness won’t get it.
God is good. So is His guarantee. But like ANY guarantee, you’ve got to claim it if you want it.
And don’t forget to say “Thank you.”