Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies.

Your righteousness is like the highest mountains, your justice like the great deep. You, Lord, preserve both people and animals.

How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.

They feast in the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights.

For with you if the fountain of life; in your light we see light. (Ps. 36:5-9)

“There are some things money can’t buy,” went the famous ad. “For everything else, there’s MasterCard.”

Of course, the things money can’t buy are the most important: love, satisfying work, meaningful relationships. The most vital of all is our salvation, purchased at the price of Jesus’ suffering and death on the cross. We each owe a debt that no payment of ours can ever cover. When Jesus paid for it, and we accepted His gift, it’s as if we received the Master’s Card with a credit balance.

In the Old Testament, Abraham obeyed God, and it was credited to him as righteous. As Paul explains in Romans 4:23-25:

The words, “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness — for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.

Not only has Jesus wiped out the debt we could never hope to pay off, but He has credited our commitment to Him as something to be constantly drawn on. All that we truly need, all that is of lasting value, we can access through Him and charge to His account. There is no limit to the love and care available with the Master’s Card. It covers everything, everywhere. There are no places where the Master’s Card isn’t accepted.

But this isn’t easy credit. We can’t just apply for it and then go merrily on our way. We have to maintain contact with the provider, live up to the terms of the agreement, keep reading the manual. Our “payments” aren’t monthly, but daily. We agree to pay attention, pay respect, spend our time.

In return, we find that we’re feasting on God’s abundance of wisdom, peace and assurance. We’re drinking in His love for us as we marvel at our worth in His sight. Our eyes are opened wide as we see things in a different light — the light of Christ shining on us and through us. For the first time, we begin to understand what real life is all about.

My prayer for this Christmas season is that, in the midst of all the glaring advertisements and the pressure to run harder, spend faster and send blood pressure higher, I’ll reach instead for the Master’s Card, and remember that if I were to make a commercial about it, it might go something like this:

Contributing to those in need — $ xxx.xx

Hosting family and others — $ xxx.xx

Celebrating Jesus and His Salvation — Priceless.