There is something about human nature that loves a bargain. Few things please us more than getting something for next-to-nothing. We dream of striking it rich quickly. We boast about “what a steal” a particular item was. We flock to clearances and auctions and garage sales hoping that one day we will stumble across something of real value that doesn’t cost us anything.
We’re even tempted to look for a bargain when it comes to matters of faith. I believe that salvation is the free gift of God. But even as I say that my ears perk up at the words “free gift.” The bargain lover in me hears words like “grace,” “mercy”, and “gift” and immediately I begin to wonder if there might really be a free lunch after all. It’s as if God were holding a cosmic garage sale, and, while picking through the treasures, we come across salvation marked down so low that anyone would jump on the deal. Imagine our delight that something as precious and valuable as salvation can be obtained at no cost to ourselves, with no risk and no obligation.
BUT one of the most perplexing paradoxes of religion is: Salvation is the free gift of God, yet it costs us everything we have. It cannot be earned, yet it requires we leave all, take up a cross and follow. It demands only our faith, yet that faith demands everything else about us — denial of self! Salvation is by grace, but that grace is the most costly commodity around. The call to discipleship will cost you everything you value. Jesus wants you to count the cost before coming to Him. Don’t become His disciple only to discover that He demands more than you are willing to give. Everyone will ridicule the disciple who begins and then turns back.
What is the discipleship worth to you? Are you willing to pay the price that Jesus demands? Remember — salvation is a gift, but it does not come cheap. – Mike Gravois, Tyler, TX