We invited a couple we’ve been friends with for ages to braai with us. That’s a South African barbecue. We had a very nice evening and when they left the wife said, “Now we owe you a braai.” My mind stopped working for a few seconds. I know that this is the way people think but it really shouldn’t be that way. Why do we always think that if someone does something for us we owe them something in return? And then sometimes we see the “pay it forward” campaigns. It’s a great idea, it has awesome consequences, but why should it be necessary? Should people really have received something in order for them to do (or give) something nice to someone else? I’ve even seen ‘random acts of kindness’ days, or weeks. Why should there be time set aside for being kind to strangers? Haven’t we progressed beyond the Good Samaritan? Can’t we just do things for others and not expect anything in return. Even more, can’t we allow others to do things for us without feeling guilty about repaying them? We probably have to learn to receive more than we need to learn to give. Some of us even have a hard time accepting compliments.
The Bible teaches all about receiving.
Matthew 13:23, “But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what he has sown.”
Acts 2:4, “Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about 3000 were added to their number that day.”
1 Thessalonians 2:13, “And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God.”
Matthew 10:40, “He who receives you receives me, and he who received me receives the one who sent me.”
John 1:12, “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”
The greatest gift that anyone could ever receive is salvation. To accept Jesus into their heart and have a living relationship with Him. To have the assurance that they will not perish but have eternal life. There’s nothing that can ever match up to this. Ever. God doesn’t ask for anything in exchange for eternal life. He doesn’t lay down 1000 rules we have to follow every day. He doesn’t put guilt onto us for not doing everything the way we think it ought to be done, but can’t live up to. And when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Saviour, He even gives us the Holy Spirit. Free of charge. No cost. Then the Holy Spirit gives us gifts. The gifts of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:4-11), and the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 6:22-23). And He doesn’t ask us for payment of any kind. These are free. Nothing we can ever do can repay Christ for dying for us on the cross.
Look at what Jesus says to the Samaritan woman at the well. John 4:10, “Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ then you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.””
and verse 13-14, “Jesus said to her, ‘Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”’
Jesus never asked for anything in return for healing anyone either. He didn’t charge people to perform a miracle for them. He even changed water into wine at no cost. He could have had quite a lucrative business there!
There is nothing you or I could ever do to repay Jesus for dying on the cross for our sins. Nothing. Not one single deed would warrant payment for what He did for us. How can you ever repay someone for dying for you, for giving everything for you? We have received so much. And we are being blessed and protected every day. Let us give without expecting anything in return and let us learn to receive graciously without feeling guilty and trying to repay.