Welcome reader friends and new subscribers! Today, David Telbat has another new Christian short story for you, “Trade-in for Life.” Enjoy!
Trade-in for Life
by D.I. Telbat
Gene Park stepped out of the church and into the sunlight. The service wasn’t over, but he couldn’t wait any longer; he had to leave. The doors closed behind him as he fell to his knees, his face turned upward to the blue sky, and his arms held wide.
“I’m Yours, Lord” he said softly. They were the only words he could muster through the trembling and tears. “I’m Yours.”
Though Gene didn’t feel like he had much control over himself that morning, life had never felt sweeter than it did at that time. Usually so fluent with his words, he wasn’t bothered that he could pray nothing more. No other prayer would’ve seemed right at that moment.
He was sixteen when he’d first heard the gospel at summer camp. But for thirty years, he’d been running away, as far away as he could go. And regardless of all the comforts his money had bought him, he’d never been comfortable about his eternal destiny.
Money had come with hard work, then it had come often and in great quantities. By age thirty, he’d banked his first million, and three times that the next year. Men smiled and toasted him, but Gene knew the void in his life was beyond denial.
The recession had hit a decade ago and families across the country had scrambled to stay afloat. People chased after money as if it were a lifeboat, but Gene didn’t know how to tell them that money wouldn’t fix their souls. And how could he tell them anything when he was on the cover of magazines because of his money? He had mansions because of money. He had affluent friends because of money. He had every luxury because of money. And yet he had been dead inside.
But no more. Now, he had to tell them. Somehow.
“I’m Yours,” Gene said once more, then wiped his eyes and rose to his feet.
The parking lot spread below him. The sports car that had cost him $100,000 gleamed a brilliant red from the last wax job. He had a dozen other similar cars, and a half-dozen estates around the world. Why God had allowed him to soil his life as such, Gene didn’t know, but he would no longer build his treasure on earth.
He glanced at the church doors behind him. Though it was a mystery why he’d suddenly driven off the highway and come to this service, he didn’t need to search out the answer since the result was already bursting from inside him, barely containable.
Maybe half the regulars in the sanctuary of the church would balk at what he was about to do, but he knew he had to do it. No longer would he serve self by building his riches in this world. It all had to go. But how?
Once in his sports car, he turned back onto the highway. He felt his heart overflowing with joy, but he was determined to carefully memorialize this moment.
By trusting in the gift of the shed blood of God’s Son, Gene had become a new man. Yet even in his newness, he realized how quickly God’s undeserved favor could be turned into something Gene had brought about by himself. He now realized that God had saved him from eternal damnation, and it was up to God to maintain what He had begun.
Gene understood it needed to begin at a place where many professing Christians failed: he had to become a wise steward of what earthly possessions he owned. If it all had to go, it needed to go to the right places. This wasn’t going to be an easy task. Quickly, he did the math. If he financed $1,000,000 every six months toward various ministries and hurting families, he still wouldn’t run out of money before the next decade.
Two other things became suddenly apparent to him regarding his fortune. First, he had to give the money away himself. Such a fortune could be a trap for anyone else, even a committee. Therefore, he wouldn’t hurt anyone else by involving them in possible financial descent.
And second, Gene knew he couldn’t give from a distance. What he was about to do wasn’t about appeasing his conscience temporarily. The cross had already done that once for all. This was about obedience.
So he would get up close and personal with those to whom he gave. Giving his excess was easy, but giving of himself—his time, effort, and careful attention—that’s what mattered. If his giving meant nothing to him, it would mean nothing to God. Gene had heard about a concept from the Bible—something to do with a widow offering her meager fortune—so he knew he was on the right track.
Pulling into a used car lot, it took Gene an hour to trade in his sports car for six used vehicles. Each car had around fifty thousand miles, yet was in good shape.
He drove one of the cars back to the church, the keys to the other vehicles in his pocket. When he parked, he began to pray and browse the other cars in the lot. This was not a sizable church, and it wasn’t in an affluent neighborhood. A dozen of the cars around him looked to be on their last tire tread.
As the church doors opened and families poured out, Gene left the car and approached one of the pastors. He’d seen the man and his wife exit a rust-bucket before the service.
Now this is where it all begins, Gene realized. He would give what good he had, and he would take from them what wasn’t good anymore. After all, that’s what Jesus had done for him–a trade-in for life.
NOTES: Visit our Dark Edge page for links to where to get your FREE COIL Series Prequel download! Our thanks to Phyllis Olley and “Book Worm” for their reviews!
Thanks also to Phyllis, Lisa, and Pamela Robertson for their kind words on Soldier of Hope! Having reviews makes the difference between selling and not, so thanks to all who have ever left their thoughts on David’s books!
COMING UP: Next time, David will share some of his research behind the new PREQUEL, Dark Edge. Be sure to join us for “Muddy Waters.” And the following week, we have another of David Telbat’s new short stories titled, “Holdout Hallway.”