The Roof

IMG_4021I needed a new roof.  The last time I went away on a trip, the roof began to leak and we had to use pots to catch the water; furthermore I noticed several new water spots growing on the ceiling of the living room.  I decided a seamless metal roof over the existing shingles would assure me many trouble-free years without leaks.  Since I didn’t want to do the work myself, I needed to find a contractor.  I decided it would be nice to include a carport in the project so it would match the rest of the house.

I did my research:  I obtained recommendations from friends and family and searched out advertisements for roofers.  One day I had an opportunity to ask for a recommendation from a neighborhood homeowner with a particularly attractive metal roof.  He advised, “I can’t recommend the man who did my roof.  I had a lot of trouble.  Be careful.  Use a reputable contractor.”  Good advice.

Another friend advised, “Never give money up front.  Always tell the contractor that you will pay for the materials yourself, and you will pay for his labor as portions of the job are completed to your satisfaction.”  Excellent advice.

I sought out bids from 5 contractors.  The bids ranged from a low of $7,000 to over $20,000.  Typical payment terms were 50% down, 50% upon completion.  Most quotes were somewhere in the middle but still exceeded my budget.  I would have to cut the project’s scope and possibly use lower quality materials to stay in budget with all except the lowest bidder, who violated many personal principles:

  • “If it’s too good to be true, it must be so.” The low bid was too good to be true – but based on my estimates, I rationalized that he could still make a tidy profit on this job.
  • “Use a reputable contractor.” The low bidder had an old, beat up truck, gave me a quote on a store-bought form without letterhead, and had run out of business cards.  But we did get positive recommendations through the internet, and the background checks we performed on him highlighted nothing of significance.  Besides, I personally knew of reputable individuals who work alone, do high quality work, and are able to offer significantly lower prices than larger established firms.  Some even use old, beat up trucks.  Furthermore, if he uses an old beat up truck, I don’t have to pay for his new truck…
  • “Never give money up front.” The low bid wanted 50% for materials upfront, 50% upon completion – just like the other bids.  After some research, I estimated the cost of materials to be about 50% of the total project cost.  “Not unreasonable,” I said to myself.
  • I did find it rather strange that he didn’t put an address on his quote, but chose to simply ignore it.

Nevertheless I was still uncomfortable.  So I sought out advice, but it was inconclusive.  I didn’t want to go with the low bidder, but I really wanted everything.

So I analyzed, compared, and pondered.  I heard a quiet warning whisper, “Don’t do it.  Go with the next higher bidder.” Then the response, “But you have to give up on the carport.  He’ll be fine.”

Then another warning, “The low bidder has too many problems.”  Then the response, “But you have an answer for each.”

What to do?  What to do?  Finally I decided on a Plan B and that settled it:  Even if the low bidder does a bad job and I have to finish or fix what he does, I’ll be about the same position financially as if I were to go with the next higher bidder.

I signed the contract and gave him his deposit.  He started work immediately and worked for two days.  Then he disappeared.  I was left with an unfinished project, a $4,300 loss, and no materials.  Subsequently I learned that the contractor was a well-known criminal to the police in this region with charges pending in three counties and a long prison history.  What I thought of him hadn’t changed a thing:  Reality simply is what it is – he is a crook, no matter what I believe.

Ultimately I personally finished the job in an unsuccessful attempt to stay within budget.  It cost a little more than the next highest bid and took a lot of my time and energy.  In the end I also sacrificed the carport.

Looking back, I saw all the warning flags, but instead willfully chose to disregard them.

  • I knew the right thing to do, but instead willfully chose to take the easy way out and ignore it.
  • I had to be willing to give something up, but instead willfully chose to grasp for something beyond my reach.
  • I pretended that the contractor I wanted was legitimate and discounted any evidence to the contrary. But he wasn’t legitimate, no matter how much I rationalized.

… and those decisions cost me dearly.

 

Fortunately for me it was only a roof.  But for many others much more is at stake:  Life in eternity.

How often people willfully ignore compelling signs and pretend that there is no God!

“I believe in the theory of evolution.  Don’t talk to me about Creation,” they say.

But evolution cannot explain something coming from nothing.  Creation does.  Evolution cannot explain the Cambrian explosion.  Creation does.  Could the theory of evolution be just that:  An inaccurate theory that does not match reality?

“All truth is relative.  What I think is right is right,” they say.

But try pretending that gravity doesn’t exist and jump off a building.  Will you land safely?  Truth is reality; reality exists, and it is unique and absolute.  Reality doesn’t care what you or I think of it.

“There are no moral absolutes,” they say.

But imagine living in a society without morality and you will find yourself living in a society ruled by brutality, violence, and greed.  Such a society will self-destruct.  And does every victim inherently desire justice?  If there are no moral absolutes there can be no justice.  If justice doesn’t exist, why does everyone inherently desire it?  Why couldn’t there be absolute moral laws, just as there are absolute physical laws?

“The Bible is irrelevant,” they say.

But no one’s personal opinion can make The Bible untrue or irrelevant.  In fact, The Bible’s historical accuracy is well-documented.  The Bible’s contents – particularly some of the amazing prophecies that precisely foretell future events centuries ahead – verify its Divine origin and authority.  Therefore The Bible’s claims and wisdom for human life apply to and are relevant for all people of all time everywhere.  Furthermore, The Bible teaches that violating God’s rules will have eternal consequences.  Dismissing The Bible off-hand without serious evaluation is worse than jumping off a building in a vain attempt to defy gravity.

“Jesus Christ was a good man,” many say.  “Jesus Christ was a prophet,” others say.

But no one’s opinion changes who Jesus Christ really is, just as my opinion of the contractor doesn’t change the truth that he is a crook.

And in truth, there are only three possible answers to the question, “Who is Jesus?”  He could be a liar who falsely claimed to be God, a lunatic who spoke nonsense, or The Son of God as He claims to be:

  1. He is not a Liar

No one would risk his life for a lie, and every single one of the Apostles except John died a horrible violent death because they believed and proclaimed that Jesus was God.  They clearly believed He was God and backed it with their blood.

  1. He is not a Lunatic

Jesus backed His claims with astounding miracles, including resurrection from the dead. Over 500 people personally saw the resurrected Jesus!  The names of many are preserved in The Bible.  Since the New Testament was written within their lifetimes, one would expect some of them to help the Pharisees prove that Jesus’ claims were false.  But none did – because Jesus isn’t a lunatic. In fact, the Pharisees were anxiously looking, willing to pay handsomely, conspired to spread false evidence about Jesus, and even persecuted Jesus’ followers to death.  But the Pharisees still could not disprove or deny the empty tomb and Jesus’ resurrection.

  1. Hence the only other choice left is that Jesus truly is The One He claims to be:

The Jewish Messiah, the Son of God.  When Thomas, one of Twelve, asked him,
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (Joh 14:6)

 

I had closed my mind to the truth about the contractor and suffered consequences.  Don’t close your mind to Jesus, lest you suffer disastrous consequences that condemn you to eternal torment.  I don’t want Jesus to say to you,

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. (Mat 25:41)

Things are not as they look in this world and a poor choice always results in painful consequences.  In truth, choices we make today will likely have consequences that endure forever.  Therefore be careful, vigilant, and thorough before choosing.  Verify then trust – and follow Jesus.  And that is the absolute truth.

Ed Nail
(1205)

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  1. Joel Gonzalez
    June 3, 2017 at 9:27 am

    Thank you for sharing your lesson with us and tying it to the ultimate lesson taught in the Bible I also appreciate how you didn’t use this forum as an opportunity to lash out at the individual, but as an example of self examination. I hope many will see how Good God is to continuously call people to repentance and faith in Him for forgiveness of sins, and eternal life. Thank you again!

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