On Loan

Sarah Dixon Young

When my kids damage one of our books and bring it to me, I calmly put it in the book hospital pile and go in search of tape.

However, when my kids even hint that they have caused microscopic damage to a library book, I go on full alert. I drop everything and tend to the book, using the invisible tape and taking extraordinary care to return it to its original state.

Library books are on loan, and I want to return them in the condition I found them- or better! Once, when we lost a library book behind the couch, our fine was four times what it would have cost me to buy a replacement on Amazon. From then on, library books on loan got almost the same tender treatment as newborns at our house.

Paul wrote to the Galatians, “You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”

Once we have been redeemed by Christ, we have signed away the rights to our own bodies. Every part of us is now on loan because He bought us with the ultimate price- one that we could never repay.

Dr. Paul Brand tells the story of his mother in his excellent book Fearfully and Wonderfully: The Marvel of Bearing God’s Image. From her childhood as a rich girl in London, Mrs. Brand went to serving the Lord as a missionary in India. At the age of sixty-nine, the mission sending agency asked her to retire. She was getting old and had been widowed. She did retire from the agency, but she did not retire from being on loan to the Lord.

She heard of a place in the mountains that no missionary had ever visited. Without the assistance of the agency, she moved there, built her own shack, and decided to live out the rest of her years in the Lord’s service to those poor people. She stayed there twenty-six years, even after breaking her hip and being unable to walk without bamboo sticks she used as crutches. When she died at age ninety-five, Mrs. Brand had suffered from poor nutrition and swollen joints, but every part of her had been used well because she knew it was only on loan from the Lord for limited amount of time.

Christians don’t have the liberty of saying, “My body, my choice.”

Even down to the decision of which foods to eat, we should be mindful of the fact that our bodies are on loan. They belong to someone else and were bought with a price we could never repay.

Medical decisions, clothing choices, tattoos, piercings, hairstyles, nutrition, behaviors, preferences, and every action belong to Him. Believers can find freedom in saying to the Lord, “Lord, this is your body. Guide me in how you want to use it.”

Jesus’ body was broken for us, and we are crucified with Christ, so that it is no longer we who live, but Christ who lives in us. So glorify God in your body.

K. William Boyer is the Managing Editor of the Devils Lake News Journal. He can be reached at kboyer@gannett.com, or by phone at (701) 662-2127.  

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