June 9, 2008
For Father’s Day–a Gift That Will Last A Lifetime
by Pastor George Van Alstine
How can you ignore an ad like that? Certainly itâs not an ad for a tie; that may not last past Thanksgivingâs gravy stains. A box of chocolates may last no more than a half-hour. Even the nicest card will probably end up in the trash a few weeks later. What gift lasts a lifetime?
Dadâs name on a star! This is an ad for one of the numerous âstar-registryâ? companies ready and willing to take your credit care number.
Hereâs how it works. You can spend anywhere from $19.95 (sale price for the basic computer-printer-generated certificate) to $479.00 (an âHeirloom-framedâ? certificate, a 20″x16″ framed personalized star chart, a booklet on astronomy, a letter of congratulations, a personalized wallet card with the star name and coordinates). Of course, if you really love your dad, youâre not going to give him the $19.95 cheapie.
The star chart will indicate the area of the night sky to look for your star. If you have access to a telescope, you can actually see your very own star. âThere it is, the star âGeorge Van Alstine,â ten degrees east of the southernmost star in the constellation Orion. No, wait, itâs moving. Oh, thatâs a plane. Better look around more.â? It must be reassuring to locate your star and know that you still exist.
The ad points out that, even after youâre gone, âyour relatives, using a telescope, can actually see your star.â? This means the star-registry gift will actually last more than the advertised âlifetime.â? Descendants three hundred years from now may be able to look you up on line, then look up to you in the sky.
Some people are likely to take this a step further and imagine that, after you die, the star is you. âLook, thereâs grandpa. Not the bright one; the little orange one next to it. You have to squint to see him. I think heâs waving at us.â?
All this may be comforting on some level, but itâs just another way of lightening your wallet in exchange for false hopes and assurances. Your name may be one of a thousand assigned to a given star, and identifying with that star wonât bring you one moment closer to immortality.
So, kids, donât buy me a star-name. Save your dollars. What matters to me is that my name is âwritten in the Lambâs Book of Lifeâ? (Revelation 21:27). And if you want to give me a real Fatherâs Day gift, assure me that your names are written there as well. The best way to honor me as your father is to let me know that you will follow me into eternity, where our heavenly Father will hold us more securely than the stars.