There is a price for everything in life. You cannot live at someone else’s expense getting ‘free rides’. Let us see why we must not desire free, costless blessings and gifts using the example of the father of faith Abraham. Genesis 23:7-18: “…And Abraham listened to Ephron; and Abraham weighed out the silver for Ephron which he had named in the hearing of the sons of Heth, four hundred shekels of silver, currency of the merchants. So the field of Ephron which was in Machpelah, which was before Mamre, the field and the cave which was in it, and all the trees that were in the field, which were within all the surrounding borders, were deeded to Abraham as a possession in the presence of the sons of Heth, before all who went in at the gate of his city”.
Reading this story we see that they wanted to give Abraham a big piece of land as a gift, but he refused from this freebie and insisted that he pays the necessary amount of shekels of silver. Often in modern Christianity it is a common practice to expect blessings. Too many people in churches are infected with the ‘freebie’ culture: they expect to receive everything free of charge – free food, free translation services, free web-site design services, manicure, hair styling, or any other service. Expecting all the freebies, they do not offer anything in exchange. They consciously do not buy themselves certain things counting that somebody will bless them; they actually ‘order’ the things they cannot afford in prayers.
The Bible says that we should bless. ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’, Acts 20:35. However, the emphasis is that we should put ourselves in the position of a giver, not a receiver. The emphasis is not for us to expect and, moreover, not to demand things, but to become a source of blessings. The Bible also teaches to give material blessings to those, who serve us with the word. They are right to expect it from us, because they have already sown knowledge, wisdom, and time. “Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches”, Galatians 6:6.
Even if somebody offers you help free of charge, discretion suggests the necessity of thanking such a person materially or otherwise. “As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God”, 1 Peter 4:10. If someone offers you to give you a free manicure, accept their service, but also put a banknote in their pocket. If someone offered you to stay at their place – bring some food, help around the house, or buy gifts for the kids. This is a way of showing honor and we must appreciate it. God knows what we need and He provides us with everything necessary while we give and as long as we sow. Let us return to the story,which happened to Abraham. He knew that if he buys the land for a discounted price, he will cause the landlord to become bankrupt. Here we see manifestation of true love, which is completely opposite to selfishness. Love puts interests of other people above its own. Love does not seek to please itself, but to please others.
Love is honor. Abraham realizes that they could name a big price. It happens that people shamelessly cheat and overprice their product. Others are ready to stop relationships, curse, and hate, offend, and make enemies – all for money. However, Abraham had a different position. He understands that it is better to overpay than to underpay. When we pay more, we bless people. When we give less, we steal, rob. This is not the case when we need to fight for justice. It is better to give more than to discontinue relationships because of pennies.
There will be many ways and opportunities in life to get a free ride, and Abraham had such an opportunity (Gen. 23:11). Only our inner virtues, level of honor, breeding, nobility will help to react the right way. We must be a source of blessing and not just a receiving side. In verses 12 and 13 we see how Abraham begs to be allowed to pay for the land. This is virtue and nobility. This is a position of honor. Let us not forget that this year was announced as “The Year Of Honor”.
Abraham insists to pay for what he is given not to be the cause of temptation. When we receive essential gifts for free, in 90% of cases they become the grounds for conflict. Greed, covetousness, and envy come into view.
Abraham insisted to pay the whole sum, because he didn’t want this gift to cause anybody to reproach him after a while. When your benefactor is no longer there, then their spouse, children, relatives may come to you with claims. Therefore, if you do not have enough money to pay for everything, pay in installments; especially if it is about a big, considerable, and long-term favor. We should be far-sighted.
Freebies put people in the position of dependence. The danger is that heirs or partners may change their mind tomorrow, start regretting and cursing, spread rumors about the true benefactor of all your belongings, your liabilities will weigh you down, and you will have to live with a feeling of eternal debt.
Often we have earned what people are offering us (verse 15). In such cases you should receive it, but in turn you must come up with ways to thank the giver, therefore to compensate the offering.
Verse 16 reveals Abraham as a master psychologist. He understands that there is no use to argue with people, therefore, he listened attentively to Ephron and immediately weighted out the necessary sum of silver. One action is better than a thousand of intentions.
Because Abraham paid, that land with many witnesses became his full possession. And now, as a rightful owner, he can put a fence, change the name of it, give it away, legally register his property, and without confusion, but with confidence call it his own (verses 17, 18).
Living on free rides is self-deception that ends in disappointment, loneliness, and estrangement. It is better to give than to receive. “Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law”, Romans 13:8. Even though it is always nice to receive gifts, the true happiness, however, lies in giving. When we share, we give, and so, we become more full and healthy. Our heart is happy and rejoicing. When someone does not like to share, and only wishes to receive, when they do not help others, but demand help for themselves, it is called parasitism. There are animals-parasites, plants-parasites in nature that live at the expense of others, and a person, who only takes, demands for themselves goes as low as such animal or plant, stoops to the level of a parasite. However, human nature is created to give and be the source of giving, not parasitizing.
Let us see one more situation in the life of Abraham. “But Abram said to the king of Sodom, “I have raised my hand to the Lord, God Most High, the Possessor of heaven and earth, that I will take nothing, from a thread to a sandal strap, and that I will not take anything that is yours, lest you should say, ‘I have made Abram rich’,” Genesis 14:22-23. Abraham trusted God fully and did not rely on his own strength. He did not want to give glory, which belonged to God, to human. Abraham also did not give others an opportunity to appropriate God’s glory. He realized that only God is the source of all blessings.
The source of our well-being, provision is our labor, our abilities, and, above all, God. Nobody in this life can cover our needs in joy, happiness, material welfare, harmony, piece, health, blessings as the Lord can. No matter how much a person gives, it will never be enough. Only when we properly connect to God, our needs will be completely satisfied.
We recommend you to study the following books for a deeper understanding of this topic:
“It Is Always Profitable To Do Good”, “How To Be Happy”, “Celebrate People” by Sunday Adelaja.
Giving you my love,
Senior Pastor of the Embassy of the Blessed Kingdom of God for All Nations Church
P.S. Directions for prayer in your personal prayer retreats:
1) Whom, with what, how and when can I serve with my gifts and talents?
2) For quality and timely completion of all construction and interior works of UCSC (Ukrainian Cultural and Spiritual Centre).
3) For a new level of influence of Pastor Sunday and his team in Ukraine and the whole world.
Translated by Kate Chindove
Edited by Emmanuel Chindove