June 2019

Good morning,

I'm an Agatha Christie fan from way back. Mystery novels are my go-to escape. I love sitting on the edge of my seat, caught in a plot, looking for clues while suspecting anyone and everything, and then surprised by a twist at the end. The tougher the nut to crack, the better I like it.

That's why I enjoy reading the Real Estate Section of the Sunday paper—whether or not I'm shopping for a home. There's nothing like a stroll through the classifieds to feed my craving appetite for a mind-bending mystery.

Real estate ads are cleverly written in code—each is disguised with deception and ruse. Every line drips with intrigue and mystery, each ad is a game of wits. John Grisham would be proud. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle would tip his bowler. Hitchcock would stand and cheer.

For homebuyers, it's critically important to solve these classified mysteries in order to manage expectations. Buyers who ignore these clues, do so at their peril. Therefore, as an aid to house hunters everywhere, here are some tips:

  • If the ad says "quaint," it means old.
  • If the ad says "contemporary design," it means a converted garage.
  • If the ad says "daring design," it means it's still a garage.
  • If the ad says "interactive community," it means there's graffiti on your fence.
  • If the ad says "energy efficient," it means it's built near a nuclear power plant.
  • If the ad says "near wildlife habitat," it means there's a fire hydrant at the street corner.
  • If the ad says "step-saver kitchen," it means you can't open the refrigerator and oven doors at the same time.
  • If the ad says "you'll love it," it means you probably won't.
  • And, if the ad says "must see to believe," then it means must see to believe!

Caveat emptor. Let the buyer beware!

Whereas that principle holds true in real estate, thankfully it's not true with the gospel we believe and preach. And our perfect model was Jesus Himself.—Jesus took the mystery out of God's love.

Jesus was the antithesis to the religious leaders of His day. Their path to God was a mysterious and impossible maze full of traps and hazards. No one was safe—thin ice was the best they could offer.

On the contrary, Jesus offered a sure entry point to all who would come, even though the gate was small and the road narrow. The contrasting messages between Christ and the Pharisees was dramatic. No wonder attendance soared at His meetings.

Jesus used descriptive picture-words as filters to remove any doubt to His meaning. When He said, "I am the light of the world," or "I am the good shepherd," there was no mystery—people understood perfectly. Neither did they miss the oxymoron He leveled at the Pharisees: "You blind guides." The Savior removed all masks.

The ecclesiastic fog lifted. Suddenly, God's word made sense. People finally realized help and hope had arrived.

Jesus intentionally spoke in everyman's language so none would be confused. After all, what good was God's once-for-all offer of salvation if no one could understand the point? Grace should never be shrouded in mystery, or be difficult to understand.

The same is true today.

Paul said it best; "This mystery, which was hidden from ages and generations past, has been made known to us, God's people. Through us God has chosen to reveal how rich and glorious this mystery really is. The mystery we speak is, of course, simply this: Christ in you, the hope of glory."

The gospel is a great story. Offering clues and hints as to its meaning won't get it done.

At stake is a generation's understanding of who God is, what He's done, and what He wants. This generation deserves to know the answers, and it shouldn't be lost in a mystery.

As Sherlock Holmes might say, "It's elementary, my dear Watson!"



Ron Walters
Senior Vice President
Ministry Relations

© Copyright 2019 by Ron Walters

Ron Walters