A SLAVE TO A DEBT
Or who has given a gift to Him that He might be repaid? Romans 11:35
If I try to repay someone for a gift they have given me, it offends them. Well, if they truly gave it without strings attached. Some give – in order to entrap. How well I know.
I was once enslaved to some people who insisted that they were owed an exorbitant amount of money. (I trusted them though there was no paper trail.) I lived to repay them and felt strangled by the debt as the years mounted. No matter how much money I handed them, I was made to feel like any payment, large or small, was insignificant.
I remember the day I was riding in the car with one of the parties that I supposedly owed. In quiet desperation, I asked…. “How long it take for me to pay you back?” I held my breath for the answer. Without flinching, I heard the word… “Forever!” All hope died in me and for the next ten years, I marked time until God delivered me from the relationship altogether. As it turned out, there was no debt. There was no love either. I stepped into freedom with a ton of wisdom in my hands; wisdom learned from my time with oppressors.
God gave a gift of grace to each of His children that we cannot possibly repay. He begs us not to even try, to just accept it and dance in the joy of being loved. But, such a gift makes the best of us squirm. We’d rather earn it, which is ludicrous. How many people distrust the news of the Gospel and, instead, want to work to earn their good standing with God. Their pride is offended that nothing they have, or might give, is good enough for God. Grace just can not be earned by the most impressive act of charity. Jesus paid my debt and to try to earn it my way is to say that He died for nothing.
God does not give to entrap but to free. Paul called himself a ‘bond-servant of Christ.’ This had no negative stigma. How could it? The one whom he was forever indebted was safe to love, safe to need, and worthy of whatever allegiance to Christ would cost him.
“I owe You my life!” Oh, how different that feels than to be enslaved by men. It’s light in my spirit. Amen