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NO EXPIRY DATE

Last fall we went back to Hong Kong for a visit. Since we do not have family there, we stayed at a hotel. It was a four star hotel, centrally located. We were quite pleased with it, considering its cost and conveniences. 

One morning when we were having our coffee before heading out, I suddenly noticed the coffee package provided by the hotel had a date printed on it. It says 15 JUN 13 and DDMMYY beside it.  Since it was already October, I thought it was outdated by a few months. But for coffee, it should still be fine. My assumption is that people in Hong Kong probably do not drink as much coffee as we do in North America.

A few days later, while we were just getting ready to leave our room, we bumped into some housecleaning staff. They asked us if everything was up to expectation. I told them that we liked the hotel very much. Our only complaint was that the coffee packages in the room were outdated. One of them politely replied that he would look into the matter.  When we came back from shopping, we found the same staff member waiting for us in the lobby. Again, politely he pointed out to me that the hotel coffee packages were not outdated. I was confused and showed him the date printed on the packages.

“That is the production date and not the expiry date.” He explained.

"Really?" I was now embarrassed. He pointed at a very fine print on the other side of the date that read PRODUCTION DATE.

"I am sorry. In Canada, we usually have the expiry date printed on food products..." I mumbled an apology.

That same evening as I was doing my devotion, I came across this description of God's steadfast love: God's love for us has no expiry date! No wonder, the Psalmist uses the refrain "God's love endures forever" so often.

I jokingly said to myself that God's love has a production date and that is our birthday. Then a still small voice inside reminded me that is no production date either. God knows us long before we were born.

The famous theologian Walter Brueggmann puts it this way: “God's steadfast character is our assurance that we live in a world grounded by God's reliable loyalty”.

Praise God that His love for us has no expiry date!

C. S. YEUNG

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