Paid in Full
by Donna Schlachter
The train conductor made his way down the narrow aisle of the passenger car. “Ticket, please.” he said to each person in turn, taking the ticket and punching it to validate it. Sitting in a back seat was an elderly man. Watching the conductor move closer and closer, he considered his options. He didn’t have a ticket, and no money to buy one. He scrunched down, pulling a blanket over him. Maybe if he looked like he was asleep, the conductor would let him be.
“Excuse me, sir. Ticket please.” he heard, as the conductor stopped next to his seat. He kept his eyes closed, wishing the man to continue to the next car. But the conductor reached over, shaking him gently, then a little harder, until the old man’s eyes opened.
“Ticket, please.” the conductor insisted. “If you don’t have a ticket, you’ll have to get off the train right now.”
“Please, sir.” the old man began. “I must get to Newcastle today. I don’t have any money to buy a ticket.”
“Can’t let you do that. You’re gonna have to get off now.”
The man sitting in the seat ahead was standing to retrieve his bag from the overhead compartment. He tugged on the conductor’s sleeve. “Sir, I’ll pay for this man to go to Newcastle. How much is it?”
The conductor looked at his train schedule, and said, “Forty two dollars.”
The stranger pulled out his wallet, counting and re-counting his money. Finally, he handed a wad of bills to the conductor. “It’s everything I have.” With that, he left the train.
The conductor moved on, and the old man stared in disbelief at the ticket in his hand. Someone who didn’t even know him had just paid his ticket. And the stranger had left so quickly he hadn’t thanked him.
* * * * *
This man had nothing that gave him the right to be on this train, yet a stranger paid his way. We have nothing that gives us the right to claim a personal relationship with a loving God. God reminds us that our acts of righteousness are as filthy rags to Him. (Isaiah 64:4) Yet Jesus has decided that although our sin deserves spiritual death, (Romans 6:23), we are worth the cost. Jesus pays the price for each one of us, giving everything He has. All He asks in return is that we give Him all we have - our lives, our love, our time. We allow Him to change us from the inside out, and then we show others how to be changed, as well. Getting to our destination is not our only mission - we are to also show others the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
Reflection: John 6:47 I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life.