On Nov. 8, 1962 an episode of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour TV series aired entitled “House Guest.”
As the story opens, a young boy swims too far from shore and begins to drown. Fortunately, he is rescued by a nearby unemployed drifter, Ray Roscoe. Grateful, his parents invite Ray into their home to stay a few days. Days become weeks as Ray begins to reveal his true colors. After flirting with their maid, wrecking the family car, and assaulting the boy’s mother, Ray unashamedly demands twenty thousand dollars before he will leave.
At first, the family yields to Ray’s demands out of sense of obligation for him having saved of their child’s life. But in the end it becomes blatant blackmail. After all, wasn’t their son worth twenty thousand dollars? Ray reasons. Or would they prefer to keep their money while Ray re-drowned their boy? The plot thickens and ends with a twist that only Hitchcock could have imagined.
The hour-long episode forces the viewer to ask just what is a saved life’s worth anyway? What is a “reasonable exchange” in gratitude?
Ray was a wicked and deceptive taskmaster… a devil in his own right. But the Christian knows another “House Guest,” a kinder, most loving Saviour who saves not only the body but also the soul. He gives not only earthly life, but eternal life… life unending. What is one’s “reasonable exchange” in gratitude for that!?
Paul writes, “…I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” (Rom. 12:1). Or, as the King James has it, “…present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”
Paul is saying the only reasonable response to so great a gift is to turn from sin, surrender to this Saviour, and give over one’s life to His purposes and plans. Not by blackmail, not by unwilling constraint, but by grateful consent… by a renewing of how we think about sin, this world, the unmerited favour bestowed upon us, and the heavenly kingdom which awaits.
One’s response is a true and proper worship, and one’s offering is oneself.