Freely We Have Received

Leslie Diestelkamp
Rochelle, Illinois

The twelve apostles had gone about with Jesus for some months. They had heard him on the mount and they had for seen him when he healed the sick, stopped the storm and raised the dead. But at last they were to cease to be only spectators. They were to become participants! Try to imagine the fearful thrill in the hearts of those humble men when they are told to go out and "Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils" (Mt. 10: 8). They were to go with the message of the imminent kingdom, and they were to prove their preaching with the power of God.

The apostles had paid no price for their powers. They had done nothing to merit such recognition. Out of a world of sinful men they had been selected to bear the good news of the kingdom and to demonstrate the power of God. Perhaps there was a danger that they might bestow Gods gifts sparingly upon some favorite few. So Jesus said, "Freely ye have received, freely give." They were to give without price and without vanity or greed. Yes, they were to give, give, give, abundantly, enthusiastically, freely, for that is the way they had received.

Today we have received so much here in America. We cannot perform a healing miracle, but we can provide a hospital bed and a costly medicine that may heal marvelously.

We cannot miraculously stop the storm, but we can supply warm clothing and cozy firesides. We are altogether undeserving beneficiaries of a prosperity that has been produced by the sacrifices of our forefathers and by the benevolence of our Heavenly Father. Into the hands of a generally ungrateful people and an entirely unworthy generation has been given the most abundant life of luxury the human race has ever known.

But the greatest blessing we have received is salvation from sin and it is given altogether freely also. Except by the provident grace of God I might have been born an Arab, and I might now be a Moslem, living in desolate Timbuktu. I did not earn the right to be a free man in Christ nor did I deserve the sacrifices that others have made to preach to me the pure gospel of Christ. You and I worship God today in spirit and in truth, without fear and without persecution, but even in this we cannot boast. It is not a thing of our own design or our own wisdom and strength. We worship in furnace heated and an air-conditioned building for our lot has been cast in a land of plenty. And from our pedestal of affluence we may look with passive pity upon the poor and the underprivileged nations of earth. From our lofty height of cultural dignity we may demonstrate subtle scorn for the ignorant and unlettered of mankind. And from our sophisticated posture of spiritual superiority we may often look up only to the laminated beams of the meeting house and not to the world  wide horizons of gospel work. And many times we may be looking down at the soft carpet beneath our feet when we should be looking out upon the barren fields cannot be harvested for Christ because have not been sown with the gospel seed (Rom. 10:13-16)

American Christians let us wake up! God has not only providentially granted that

We have heard the gospel  freely  and that we may therefore have every spiritual blessing in Christ (Eph. 1: 3) --freely---but he has also granted that we may today have almost every physical blessing to please the vanity of man. Freely we have received, freely let us give. We cannot give worldly riches to every human being, but we can give the saving gospel to all humanity. (To be continued next with, "We Can Do it").


March 12, 1970