By Pat Higgins
Freeloader. We all know what a freeloader is. He is a person who partakes of the good things provided by others and never gives anything in return-a parasite. Society has a distaste for such people: the neighbor who is long on borrowing and short on returning; the relative who comes to visit and stays on and on, with no effort to contribute to the household expenses; the able-bodied welfare recipient. A freeloader is easily recognized: all take and no give. He wants to enjoy the benefits minus the responsibilities.
It occurs to me that there is another group of such parasites: the spiritual freeloader. These people fall into at least four classes:
This type freeloader enjoys the bounty of the earth freely given by the Heavenly Father, attributing it to evolution or whatever. He figures the world and all that is therein just sort of happened, and that no Being is responsible for it. The Psalmist David said that such a man was a fool: “The fool hath said in his heart. There is no God” (Ps. 14:1). The Apostle John calls the same man a liar and an antichrist: “Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son” (1 Jn. 2:22).
Those Who Acknowledge An “Existence”
There are several variations of this class, one of which we particularly want to notice at this time: the man who blissfully declares, “God is everywhere-in the flowers, the beautiful sunset, the loveliness of the mountain scenery, etc.” Not so! God is not in the flower. God made the flower; He created the conditions that illustrate the sunset; the loveliness of the mountains is a result of His power (Gen. 1). All these things declare the glory of God and His handiwork (Ps. 19:1).
This type freeloader acknowledges the existence of the “effect” but denies the existence of the “cause” as a Personality. He thoroughly enjoys and appreciates the physical blessings, but feels no compunction to seek out and revere the One who so liberally bestowed the good things for the benefit of all mankind (Gen. 1:28-31; Jas. 1:17).
Those Who Believe In God And Worship In Vain
This is the man who recognizes the benevolence of God and realizes he should give something in return. However, in his zeal to pay homage to God, he establishes his own doctrines and creeds, ignoring the revelation of God’s requirements. This man’s worship is vain, empty, because it is not according to knowledge. Rather, it is based upon the traditions and commandments of men who are ignorant of God’s righteousness (Rom. 10:1-3; Mt. 15:8-9).
He sets his own price and devises his own payment plan. He seems not to understand man’s inability to direct his own footsteps (Jer. 10:23). He is a freeloader in the sense that he is not giving appropriate payment for value received.
Into this category falls the man who recognized the goodness and mercy of a bountiful God and keenly felt the need to manifest his gratitude. He searched for a way to repay the Lord and found in His revealed Word the specifications for worship unto Him who is above all. As a result, he obeyed the gospel by faith in Jesus Christ (Jn. 8:24), repenting of his sins (Lk. 13:3), confessing that Jesus is the Son of God (Rom. 10:9, 10; Acts 8:37), and by being buried in baptism to arise a new creature, henceforth to walk in newness of life (Mk. 16:16; Col. 2:12; 1 Cor. 5:17; Rom. 6:3-6).
After becoming a child of God, this man once again became a freeloader. He sits back and lets his brethren do the working, studying, and the teaching. He feels he has now fulfilled his obligation and expects a free ride to heaven.
All the aforementioned freeloaders share two things in common: (1) they want something for nothing, and (2) they are all indebted to the Creator both physically and spiritually. The Psalmist David recognized this when he wrote, “What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits toward me?” (Ps. 116:12).
The Hebrew word translated render is shoov and can be properly translated return, restore, brought back, requite (Englishman’s Hebrew and Chaldea Concordance, pg. 1244). Using the word requite, we see that Webster defines it as “to make return to for a benefit or service.” All men are beholden to Jehovah God and are obligated to requite Him (return or restore to the Lord for all His benefits toward us).
Again, hear the Psalmist: “Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name; Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness” (Ps. 29:2). The inescapable fact is that man owes God. He owes Him for all the benefits bestowed upon him. The man who will not render acceptable worship unto God will be banished from the presence of the Lord and punished with an everlasting destruction (Mt. 7:21-23; 2 Thess. 1:7-9). He is a freeloader. We all know what a freeloader is.
Truth Magazine XXIII: 41, pp. 664-665
October 18, 1979