Have you ever played a game of Monopoly? If so, you know that the goal is to obtain as many pieces of property that you can, and come out the victor by accumulating the most money by the end of the game. The two most sought after spaces on the board, Boardwalk and Park Place, have a spot in between them that no one wants to land upon. That would be the dreaded "Luxury Tax". The symbol associated with this space is a beautiful diamond ring with the words, "PAY $75.00" written in bold dark letters beneath it. In the pursuit to get Boardwalk or Park Place, a player must carefully throw the dice to avoid having to pay the penalty for owning items that are considered "luxury" such as a piece of jewelry. It sends the message that if a person desires the finer things of life, then there will be a price to pay associated with living that type of lifestyle.
It is ingrained in many of us at young ages when we hear the phrase, "Well, we really don't need that. It is a luxury item." In any given house, certain things could be deemed not necessary and taken off the list of desires. For example, drinking pop was considered a luxury when I was growing up. If it wasn't water or milk, then it wasn't a necessity. Pop was something that was purchased only on a holiday or a special occasion. Yet, if I went to my grandma's house in the summer, her refrigerator was always stocked with pop, and as all good grandmas do, she never put a limit on how much I drank. It still surprises me when I walk into a convenience store how many choices of fountain drinks there are to pick from. You can find many of them priced for under a dollar, and it no longer seems that pop is a luxury item. But after all those years of being denied pop due to its 'wealthy status', I still find myself looking at it as something that I really shouldn't buy because it isn't necessary for my survivial.
My idea of what God considers necessary and what He doesn't was recently challenged. I had received airline tickets in the most amazing way. I was coming home about a year ago from an all expense paid business trip with my fiancee, and while I was riding up an escalator after checking my bags, I had this overwhelming feeling of gratitude rise up within me. In my mind, I began to thank God for this little getaway that was completely paid for from every meal,our accomodations and flights. I felt like a princess given the royal treatment for three days. I was not begrudgingly going home, but I asked the Lord silently to allow me to do this again because I had enjoyed myself. I asked Him for a way to be provided for free travel in the next year.
About thirty minutes before our flight was boarding,an announcement was made that our flight was overbooked. An airline employee asked for volunteers to step down and get on the next flight. My fiancee got up and put our names on the list. When he sat down next to me again, I asked him what we would do if we didn't get on our flight. He said, "If they put us on another flight it will only be about an hour behind this one. And, they will give us each $400 flight vouchers to be used within the next year to go wherever we want for free." I nearly fell out of my chair. My prayer on the escalator was coming to pass!
The two of us waited while the rest of the passengers boarded. As the crowd thinned, and we were the only passegers left, the lady behind the desk motioned for us to go ahead and board. She said, "We don't need you to stay behind after all. Your seats are available." With a heavy heart, I walked onto the plane with a very despondant attitude. I dragged my carry on behind me as I boarded. We got our items situated and we buckled ourselves in. I began a text to my youngest daughter that went something like this: "We are on the plane! We didn't get our free tickets. I am coming home now. I knew this stuff didn't work!" My disappointment stemmed from the fact that I had been reading such marvelous stories about people who prayed for miracles and got what they had asked for. I kept thinking, "I guess I am not good enough for a miracle." That thought no sooner had crossed my mind when a small Asian flight attendant ran up the aisle yelling for us to 'get off the plane! get off the plane!" We scrambled to grab our carry on items and made a dash for the exit. I saw a man with two young children running toward our emtpy seats.
We were given our $400 flight vouchers to be used anywhere in the United States and an allowance to enjoy free meals while we waited. All the way home I was in such amazement that we had been given such a wonderful gift just because I had asked for it.
In April of the following year, we had not used our vouchers and we both seemed undecided about what to do. We couldn't give them away as we were told explicitly by the airline staff that we had to use them and no one else. Only three months remained until the tickets would not longer be valid. Tired of trying to decide any longer, I put my hand on both vouchers and asked God to complete my request. I needed accomodations to go along with the free flights. I kept this to myself, but I prayed expecting a decision to come quickly.
At the end of that same week, I received a text from my sister with an offer to give us some of her timeshare days for free. When she called to check on availability, she was told that nothing was open during the time that we preferred. Minutes later, the same person said, "Oh, wait. We just had something put back in that is now open." She went on to book a large condo that slept six with an ocean view. In addition, it had a full kitchen and two full bathrooms. God made a way.
A couple of weeks before I was to leave, I was telling someone about how all of this was falling into place just perfectly. I said, "God has given me a free trip. This isn't a bill to pay or shoes to buy. This isn't food to put on the table. This is a luxury item." I was amazed that I could actually ask for something that wasn't what I considered a necessity item, and I had gotten it rather quickly.
One day after telling yet another person my story about how this trip was a luxury item, the Lord spoke to me and said, "I don't consider anything a luxury item." I was rather taken aback by that statement. Before I could say anything, He went on to explain. "I own everything. I don't have a price tag on any of My items. If you were to buy a big screen tv and set it up in your living room it would take its place along with all of your other possessions. You would not invite people over, stand before it and say, 'Hey, look at the luxury item I just bought'. No, you would remove the price tag and enjoy the tv. You might tell your friends what a great deal you got on it, but you would not go on and on about how it wasn't a necessity for your life. I don't do that with what I own either, and I own it all. A car is the same to Me as a bird flying in the sky. They both travel. They both bring delight to mankind, but they are equal in My eyes because one is not more important than the other." I sat quietly taking this all in as it went against all of my life long mental programming.
He went on to say, "So, when someone such as yourself prays for something, I don't look at it as unequal to any other thing. A rock is the same to Me as a piece of grass. They are different creations, but one is not better than the other. The world puts price tags on
material items and it sets up a mental block for you to have faith to believe for it. The price of the item many times seems too big, and so you decide that it cannot be something you can afford. It then seems unobtainable. Forget the price of things or if you need the item or not, and just ask Me for the desires of your heart. You are in the world, but you are not of the world. I can do things in very unpredictable unworldly ways so that people can receive the best of all that I own. And, I own everything."
In May, I flew to Panama City Florida to enjoy my free vacation from God. When we arrived, we drove from the airport to the resort to see if we could leave our bags with the staff until our room was ready. Check-in is normally at 4 pm., and it was only 11:30 am. The manager looked intently at the computer screen as he typed my name into the search engine. "Yes. Your reservations are right here, and your room is the only one in the entire complex that is clean and ready this early. You can go right in." We were treated to VIP service which included valet parking. When God plans a trip, He really does know what He is doing.
This experience has been eye opening because we often limit ourselves due to the false belief of whether something is needed or not. God sees everything that He has created for our enjoyment as equal, and nothing is restricted from us. Instead of striving to obtain something and hoping to get it, ask your Heavenly Father, sit back and rest in His lap of luxury.