Ask A PastorMay 20, 2015

By Rev. Syd Osenbaugh

The Healing Place (Nashville Assembly of God)

It is truly mind boggling to think of which Bible story or passage has the greatest impact in my life. God’s Word is alive and active, as the writer of Hebrews states. I turn to His Word when my heart is heavy and find comfort. In times of rejoicing I find words to express my praise in the pages of my Bible. It becomes my refuge in the lonely hours as well as my guide through the maze of this thing called life. So it is no small task to single out one verse, or even a few, that is my ‘go to’ place of comfort and/or encouragement.

With that being said, there is a story that has had a profound impact in shaping much of what my life has become over the past several years. It is found in 2 Samuel 24 and can best be summed up in a single sentence:

I will not offer to God that which costs me nothing.

David had erred in the sight of God, but he accepted responsibility for his sin and pleaded that the people not be punished for his wrongdoing. He was instructed to build an altar on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite where he would offer a sacrifice for his sin. Araunah was overwhelmed at the king’s presence and offered the site, along with the animals and anything else he needed, to David as a gift. David insisted on paying because he did not want to offer to God a sacrifice that did not cost him anything.

This principle is echoed in the gospel of Luke when Jesus encourages the crowd to consider what it will cost them to follow Him. Salvation is a free gift. One cannot earn it, nor buy it. The purchase price was paid in full when Jesus allowed His life to be taken on the cross. So, it may sound rather paradoxical to say it will cost anything at all. The truth is that the gift itself is free, but a life given in service to the Master is one of complete surrender.

Being a Christian in today’s culture is not nearly as popular as it once was. The Bible has not changed. Its truth does not bend to conform to shifting social trends. God is still the greatest authority and does not bow to ‘majority opinion’. Jesus made it very clear that genuine love for Him was best evidenced by obedience to His commands (John 14:15). Such obedience is not altered by what men think or by what is politically correct. Being a sold out disciple of Jesus Christ requires that the Bible be the only authoritative rule of faith and practice to be followed. It is a simple concept, but it is not at all easy. It will be increasingly costly with each passing day. And my choice is governed by God’s Word.

I will not offer to God that which costs me nothing.

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