But when grace is shown to the wicked, they do not learn righteousness; even in a land of uprightness they go on doing evil and do not regard the majesty of the LORD.Isaiah 26:10
By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 1 John 3:16
As I went on my “Jesus talk time” walk this morning, a structure literally stopped me from taking another step. Not only was it in my way, but it brought tears to my eyes as to what it represented. It was not intended to create this type of response in another person, but I was given a God perspective/word picture in that very moment. And it caused me to remember Jesus. Understand gifts of grace differently. Look with rekindled urgency and compassion upon the unbeliever. And walk with a spirit of gratitude today.
The structure blocking my path was a large bookshelf/cabinet. It was put out on the sidewalk for anyone to see. It was being offered to ANYONE who would take it. Because no amount of work or money was required to purchase this piece. And how did I know this? Because the sign said FREE.
I immediately took a picture of it with my phone and sent it to my husband. We were in need of some new storage cabinets for our living room and I thought, “What a find!” Sure it was old. used. And needed a paint job in the worst way, but FREE was hard to beat! My husband’s response to this offer was, “No thanks”. Short and sweet. No thinking about it. For whatever reason, we were not on the same page. I would take the FREE, deal of the century (in my mind) which was being offered, but it was not of want to him. I walked away feeling a little sad.
Now I told you at the beginning that tears filled my eyes as I approached this structure. You may be wondering why. Well, I can tell you it wasn’t the beauty of the structure. Nor was it the fact my husband and I had been looking for a living room storage piece and this could have been the one. Nor was it the pregnancy hormones which fire at any random circumstance. It was how the cardboard sign lie perpendicular to the tall/straight structure. It looked like a cross. The cross Jesus died on for me. And absolutely spot on that the cost for the “cross” was FREE.
I began to contemplate how so many friends, family, co workers, and neighbors we come into contact with daily have said, for whatever reason, “No thanks” (as my husband did for the storage piece) to the FREE cross of Jesus.
A note about FREE: There’s something about this word, “FREE”, which isn’t appealing or even risky to people. When we hear an object is FREE, we conclude it must be broken. Shouldn’t be wanted. Old. Not valuable. Maybe this is why people cannot understand God’s gift of salvation to be good when it is FREE.
Another note about FREE: Just as I received some FREE maternity clothes from my sister in law the other day, I have an innate need to pay her back for it. I thought about any clothes I had she could use. I rummaged through old baby extra’s, asking if she needed anything for her new baby. Sure enough she could use my Bumbo! So I happily gave it to her. It felt as if my debt for the maternity clothes had been paid.
And still another: Maybe this need to “return the favor” when FREE is given to us explains why I continue to try to pay back Jesus’s free gift of salvation (through His death for me on the cross/paying my debt) through my acts of service for Him, obedience to His Word, or discipline to His Spirit. It is difficult and even beyond my comprehension to grasp I can do nothing to repay this FREE Jesus gift. But this is the beauty and wonder of the cross.
So may we accept the FREE gift of salvation, unconditional love, extravagant grace, abundant life, eternal life, payment for ALL our sin, and unspeakable hope and joy of our God today. And may this truth propel us to to tell others of this FREE gift. Even if they have said, “No thanks”, in the past. Even if we think they will say, “No thanks” now. Let’s put the cross out their with our FREE “sign” on it just as my neighbor did with their storage piece. And may His peace rest on us today as we live in constant reminder and thank Him today for His FREE cross.
© 2012 Standing on Peace