Our neighborhood yard sale was last Saturday. Sandy and I usually don’t participate, but in view of our upcoming move it seemed like a good time to go through the house and get rid of some stuff. Folks, that is work!
It was a beautiful day and the sale went very well. Lots of people hauled off lots of “treasures.” But as is always the case, by about 10:00 or 10:30 the buyers all but disappeared and there was still a little stuff left. At that point we decided to make everything free and see what would happen.
We got some inquisitive looks and three reactions. One couple walked away empty-handed. Perhaps that is as much a commentary on our merchandise as their disposition. One lady insisted that she wasn’t going to just take stuff, so she paid for one item and took three! Another family quickly grabbed up the majority of what was left. There were, of course, a few things we could not even give away.
I have thought about those reactions. In many ways they mirror people’s responses to the gospel.
In a very real sense our salvation is free. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). God worked long and hard to bring together all the provisions, making them available to everyone. He paid the price by giving His Son to die for us (1 Peter 1:18-21). He invites everyone to the “sale,” so to speak, knowing that we cannot pay. “Ho! Every one who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost” (Isaiah 55:1).
In another sense, free salvation costs us everything. Discipleship is the requirement (Matthew 28:18-20), and that means giving up all. “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23; cf. 14:25-33).
Many respond to the gospel like our first couple: they are not interested, regardless of the price. They don’t see the need, or they don’t see any real value in what Jesus offers so freely. They’re just not interested. Others are like our paying lady: they are glad to take the offer, but they are going to do so on their terms, accepting or rejecting conditions according to what they are “comfortable” doing. And some are like the family who excitedly took what they could. They needed little persuasion or encouragement. They just gratefully received. (I think we were just as grateful for them hauling off our leftovers!)
What is your response to God’s gracious storehouse of blessings provided in His Son?