You’ve heard the old adage, nothing in life is free, right? I have always balked at that statement because certainly, if Chick-fil-A is giving away their tasty chicken strips, they’re free, right? Well, I guess except for the drink you bought to wash them down. Oh, and the gas you used to drive to their location. Not to mention the time you burned to go specifically to their store for lunch to get the free chicken. Don’t forget that lunch took twice as long because everybody and their brother came for the ‘free’ meal, too. But still, wasn’t is mostly free? I recently had the opportunity to see this phenomenon first hand in my own life. That nothing in life is free….
A few months ago my in-laws had some furniture they were looking to re-home and asked their kids if they were interested before they asked outside of the family. My favorite chair and secretary were on the list, along with a couch and loveseat. I talked my husband into putting dibs in on those items…they’re free, after all, right? Later that week, we borrowed a truck from a friend and headed 90 miles east to grab our new free furniture to replace our 14 year old hand me downs. How exciting!! All said and done we spent $50 on gas and $10 for fast food, and I was still thinking our free furniture was still a pretty good deal.
Days later, a new home was found for our old furniture and I set to work bringing the new furniture into the house. When my husband asked where the new furniture was going and I told him he exclaimed, ‘oh no! This furniture is too nice to put in the great room. We need to put it where the kids can’t even sit on it.’ Okay. Plan B. Let’s put it in the family room. The furniture fit perfectly and made the room look cozy and warm with its gold and green hues. As I sat back and admired my new room I paused. Hmm. There’s a problem. But only a slight problem. The walls were painted a suede blue color to match the green down chairs I had in the room before hand. The blue didn’t look bad, but it really didn’t look great, either. My decorating instinct kicked in and I started to obsess about how much it would cost to repaint the wall. I quietly slunk out the door and disappeared to Home Depot on a mission. Horrified at the $40 a gallon price tag of the special paint from two years previously I left a bit discouraged. My free furniture was starting to cost me more than I had originally anticipated. Thankfully, days later, I was able to discover a gallon of demonstration paint in the oops section for $1 and after adding 3 cups of white paint I already had, I was able to create the perfect color for my wall. Sadly, my compulsion to make the room just right didn’t end there. I was so elated at saving so much money on paint I was compelled to go buy new decor for the room to match the style of my new furniture. Before I knew it, my new furniture had become an obsession that was growing wildly out of control, and consuming my life.
Pondering the whole situation I began to think of my relationship with Christ. Easter is upon us and churches will be emphasizing the free gift of eternal life made available through Christ’s resurrection. The gift of salvation is free, all you have to do is ask for it. Just like I asked for the furniture from my incredible in-laws. The furniture I received, though free from the giver, made a change in my life that motivated me to action. This action had a cost; namely a different paint color and new nick knacks. In the same way, the gift of salvation I received from Christ was free. But, the change the Holy Spirit brings to my life compels me to action as I let the Holy Spirit consume my life. My resulting actions have a cost; namely denying myself. 2 Corinthians 3:18. Being transformed. 2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 4:17-21. Salvation most certainly is a free gift, but living a spirit filled life has a cost. This isn’t a new idea~Jesus told his followers they needed to evaluate that cost of discipleship before they made a commitment. Luke 14:25-33; Luke9:23.
As we are sharing the gospel, whether at Easter or 3 months later, we need to communicate that life in Christ is a free gift and the benefits far outweigh the cost, but there is a cost. Salvation isn’t a gift you place on a shelf to gather dust, rather it’s a gift put into action, through the work of the Holy Spirit, that compels life change. As John Calvin penned, “Indeed, faith alone saves, but the faith that saves, is never alone.”
Please share how your salvation has specifically cost you.