Fr. Randy Dollins: Opportunity cost


— Last month, I drove to Steamboat to see the movie "Iron Man."

The roundtrip is about 100 miles, my car gets 25 miles to a gallon, gas costs $4 a gallon, a movie ticket costs $7 and popcorn and a soda cost another $7.

How much did my movie going experience cost me?

In the past, I always thought that seeing a movie cost as much as the ticket price, but what I am calculating here is the "true cost" of seeing the movie.

The true cost of my movie experience was $30 and four hours of my time. When I realized this, it made me start to second-guess what I do for fun on my day off.

What else could I have done with $30 and four hours? I could have saved the money and slept, but that is not too exciting.

There are many options, but going to see the movie was the one I chose. There is concept in economics known as "opportunity cost." Opportunity cost is an understanding of what is given up when you choose one thing and not the other.

My movie cost me $30 - a bottle of good Scotch costs the same. Was the movie worth a good bottle of Scotch? This is a question of opportunity cost.

What is the opportunity cost of heaven? To know the opportunity cost, we first need to know the true cost.

Our salvation has the true cost of redeeming us from our sins. When we sin against God, we offend him.

The problem is that we can offend God, but we cannot make amends for our offense. For example: a mosquito can offend me by biting me, but it does not have the ability to make amends with me.

In comparison to God, we are like mosquitoes - the difference is that we tend to hate mosquitoes, whereas God loves us.

In fact, he loves us so much that he became a man and made amends for us by dying on the cross. With this, the true cost of our salvation shifts - now we must accept his sacrifice.

We do this by recognizing Jesus as our Lord and Savior. This is easy to say, but harder to do. Someone who takes on Jesus as Lord and savior is called to live out the Gospel. This is not a one-time ante, but rather a way of life.

We know the true cost, but what is the opportunity cost? To go to heaven, we must live a life whereby we do the good things we know we are supposed to do and avoid the bad things we know we should not do.

Yet, there is a catch - love. If we are doing the wrong things - sinning - God will always take us back if we are truly sorry for our offense.

Some might say, "I will wait until my deathbed to convert, this way I can have all the fun of sinning and then enjoy the eternal reward of heaven."

How wonderfully wicked such a person would have to be.

The problem with this view is threefold: First, premeditated repenting lacks genuineness. Second, living a life of sin draws a person away from God and makes the idea of turning back to God undesirable.

Third, what if there is no deathbed? What if your bed tonight turns out to be your deathbed and you die unrepentant?

In order to go to heaven, what are you really giving up?

Inappropriate sexuality, intoxication, dishonest wealth, violence?

Can we really call this giving up? All of these things lead into the slavery and misery of addiction. The problem is that they appear to us like candy - tempting to eat, but harmful to our health.

You must ask yourself, in relation to eternity, is the quick high from sinning worth losing heaven?

In the here and now, is it worth the regret and shame? In the end, sin does not have a worthwhile temporal or eternal reward.

The economics of our salvation are clear. There is really nothing worth losing our salvation over. So, why are we living as in a fog of uncertainty?

It is time to choose where you will build your house - on the rock of righteousness or in the sand of sin?


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