There’s an old joke about a panhandler sitting on a busy sidewalk with an old hat by his side, into which passersby would occasionally pitch a coin or two. A generous woman walked by and put a $10 bill in the hat, but a sudden gust of wind blew the bill down the street. To the woman’s dismay, the beggar made no effort to run after it. When she asked him why, he shrugged and replied “oh, well…easy come, easy go!”
This funny story illustrates a serious truth about human nature. What costs us little, we regard but little. What costs us much is precious to us.
Understanding The Worth In A Gift
King David understood this principle well. That’s why he insisted on paying Araunah the Jebusite fair value for his threshing floor and oxen. Araunah had offered them as a gift, but David wouldn’t hear of it.
“...No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” 2 Samuel 24:24
A thousand years later, Jesus taught about the value of the kingdom of heaven in two of the “kingdom parables” recorded in the 13th chapter of the Gospel of Matthew.
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.” Matthew 13:44
What Would You Give for the Kingdom?
There are believers in many regions of the world today who know exactly what the kingdom of heaven is worth to them. In hostile and restricted nations, living and sharing the gospel can cost them their jobs, their homes, or even their lives.
Like the apostles of old, they humbly endure arrest, beatings, and imprisonment, and when (if) they’re released, they take up their Christian witness right where they left off. The kingdom of heaven is more precious than anything to these saints, and they’re ready to sacrifice everything, including themselves, to enter it.
In the western world, with few exceptions, we’re under no such constraints. We can freely worship if, when, and as we wish without fear of official or cultural reprisal. Too often we hear how easy it is to enter the kingdom. All we have to do is walk down an aisle, or pray the “sinner’s prayer,” and we’re in…or so we’re told.
And that, dear friends, is why so many of us take the kingdom of heaven for granted. What costs us little, we regard but little. I pray the Holy Spirit would open our eyes, that we may clearly see the worth of the Kingdom, and joyfully give all that we have to enter it.
“For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” Luke 18:25