June 21, 2013 - No Free Puppies
By Greg Ebie
I've had many occasions to tell my kids, "There is no such thing as a free puppy." Granted, the person with the puppy isn't asking for anything; they will gladly give the puppy away.
However, once the puppy is yours you start paying for it. You have to feed it, take it to the vet, get a dog license, and let's not forget the damage a puppy can do chewing things you wish it wouldn't or making other messes. No, the free puppy will cost you more than you can imagine as you keep on paying for as long as it is yours.
I imagine if you were to offer to pay for the "free puppy" the owner would gladly accept whatever you might offer. After all, they are giving the puppy away because it has already cost them something and they want to stop paying for it.
God has a gift He will give to anyone who is ready to receive it. Like that puppy, God's gift will cost us something too. In fact, it will cost us our very lives, which we must present to God as "living sacrifices" (see Romans 12:1). But, unlike the owner of the puppy, God will not accept payment for His gift.
It is the ministry of His Holy Spirit that makes it possible for our lives to be transformed into living sacrifices for God's service. God takes care of everything. The kingdom must be received as a gift; you can't buy it, but you give yourself away in receiving it.
"But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom" (Luke 12:31,32, NIV).
Jesus' emphasis here is that when we commit ourselves to God we have nothing to worry about because we have been given the Kingdom. Jesus wants us to think like Kingdom people. God will meet our every need. Furthermore, real treasure is not found in the things the world seeks but in giving worldly valuables away.
"Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Luke 12:33,34).
Having accepted my share of "free puppies," I've learned something else; a puppy will also give you years of joyful experiences money cannot buy. The kingdom of God is a gift infinitely greater than any puppy. Like the puppy, it is a gift that will cost you something. But with the Kingdom you receive more than a lifetime of joy; Kingdom joy will overflow into eternity in ways beyond your comprehension.
Regardless of your circumstances and no matter how great the cost may seem to be, as you seek the Kingdom, God also enables you to pay the price. It's true; God's Kingdom is a gift that keeps on giving.
— D. Greg Ebie is senior pastor of Life Church (Assemblies of God) in Garrettsville, Ohio, and an author of Daily Bread devotionals.