1 Chronicles 21:24 But King David replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on paying the full price. I will not take for the LORD what is yours or sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing.”
Each year as we enter the fourth quarter of the year, the more organized among us would start planning their Christmas gifts and budget. As much as we do not want to admit it, we usually allocate a lower budget for gifts to others, especially if they are casual friends or acquaintances whom we have no choice but to give gifts to. We would stretch the budget a little bit if it were for someone important to us. If we can recycle a gift, we would do it with no second thoughts because it is free and usually involves something we do not really want.
Sadly, we bring the same attitude and mindset into our walk with the Lord. We set our devotion time to the minimal amount of time needed and at the most convenient time we have. Many times, we even forego it altogether because we are either too lazy or just do not feel like doing it. We choose to forego worship on-site in favor of online worship because we can choose to view the prerecorded worship service at our own convenience, there is no need to dress up and prepare. We can even do something else while watching – clicking the pause button when we want to do something else. We choose to spend the time set for onsite worship on our hobbies, going on outings, sleeping in, etc. When invited to attend prayer meetings, life groups, fellowships and Bible studies, we often decline citing lack of time as our reason when we have time for Netflix, sports, hobbies, social media etc. We give God our leftover time and attention.
We can learn something from King David. He was truly, a man after God’s heart. He was far from perfect. Time and again he did things that truly grieved God. Yet each time he realized his mistakes, he immediately humbled himself and sought God’s forgiveness. He was the king of Israel, the most powerful and revered man in his nation. He could have easily asked for anything from his people, and they would have no choice but to give it to him. But here was Araunah, offering his plot of land to David for free, and King David insisted on paying for it at full price. What an amazing example for us. David knew a sacrifice is not a sacrifice if it costs us nothing.
As we celebrate Christmas, let us remember what it really means and what it really cost. Christmas is God reaching out to us to reconcile with us because we have no capacity nor power to do so. God could have chosen a less costly way, or He could go out of His nature and do so in a way the cost Him nothing, yet He chose to pay the full price for us with the life of His only son Jesus Christ. We often celebrate Christmas with a wreath and a Christmas tree when it really should be symbolized by a crown of thorns and a bloodied cross. Jesus paid the FULL PRICE for our great gift – the gift of salvation and reconciliation with God.
Will we continue to demand full time attention from the Lord while giving Him our part time devotion?