My friend, may I ask you a question? God wants nothing from us at all concerning our salvation other than our acceptance and belief that it is freely given. However, is this a mere down payment on the debt we owe, or the whole debt itself? That would make it a take-or-leave it proposition–right?
My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner.
When Holly and I purchased our present house here at Beech Springs nearly three decades ago it was a critical time for us financially. We had a young family and Holly was expecting our third baby. Our home at the time was too small and we ended up selling it for far less than we had hoped for. To afford the mortgage on the new home we were not able to cover the necessary down payment to make it affordable. We needed to do something quickly since the people who purchased our old home wanted to move in sooner than expected. Since no one in my immediate families had the financial resources to help us, Holly and I fretted about this for days. About a week later I happened to mention my quandary to a good friend, not really looking for answers but just wanting to share. When I finished my story he matter-of-factly looked at me and said, “I can be your bank.” I was thrilled, not really expecting him to be able to bankroll this. Out of pride I suggested that we come up with an interest rate that was fair to him. He frowned. “No, you don’t understand. I’m giving you the money. You own me nothing.” I prickled at that, to say the least. I needed to pay him something or there was no fair value in the exchange? He reiterated that it was a gift, take it or leave it. Now, 30 years later, we still remember his generosity, knowing we probably wouldn’t be here today had it not been for his gift.
While my friend’s generosity was compelling, the moment he insisted on making his investment a gift rather than a loan it troubled me. In fact, I told him I would have to talk with my wife before I suggested any such thing. I truly didn’t want a gift as I preferred it be a loan so I could own the debt, repay it and feel that although my labor thus far had not made it possible, my labor down the road would. It was my job to provide for my growing family. An unintended assault had been made on my male pride.
Oswald Chambers writes: “We have to realize that we cannot earn or win anything from God through our own efforts. We must either receive it as a gift or do without it. The greatest spiritual blessing we receive is when we come to the knowledge that we are destitute. He (God) can do nothing for us as long as we think we are sufficient in and of ourselves. We must enter into His kingdom through the door of destitution.”
“… and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” How did the Apostle Paul feel when he penned this in his letter to the Romans? We can only speculate. Nonetheless, I believe that on the one hand he was astounded, as was I of my friend’s generosity, and perhaps on the other he probably fought the same resentment I discovered when there was nothing to do but to say “Thank you!” God is, as Paul stated, making his grace, mercy and forgiveness a gift. Like my friend he wants nothing from us at all, other than our acceptance and belief that it is freely given. Unlike my friend, however, it isn’t a mere down payment; it’s the entire debt owed. That really makes it a take it or leave it proposition, doesn’t it?
We pray. Heavenly Father, your free grace, free mercy, free forgiveness in Jesus Christ is a value beyond our speculation; yet, as costly as it is there is no price. This mystifies us and may make us wonder. Forgive us when we find ourselves instinctively but wrongly feeling that we should in some way repay our debt. Help us to just give thanks and believe in the gift. In Jesus name we pray. Amen!
Therefore my friend, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry for itself; each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matt 6:34) This Passing Day. May this passing day honor our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and be a blessing to you and everyone you meet. Find a stranger and say hello. Don't let another day pass without your day blessing someone else.
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God bless you for Jesus sake.