I remember roughly two to three handfuls of stuff from high school, and somehow, a lesson from Basic Economics made the cut. Here it is: There’s no such thing as a free lunch. Everything costs something. Sure, you may be getting a free bowl of chili, but it cost someone to make it. They bought the food, used labor hours to prepare it, bought bowls, utensils, and on and on. Something may appear free to you, but it was costly for someone else.
And this is Jesus’ point too.
Jesus sends His band of brothers out, reminding them what they paid to become His disciples: absolutely nothing. They didn’t earn it. They weren’t selected because of their prestige, influence, or liquid cash to make things happen. They didn’t pay a premium to get in the room with Jesus. The Twelve freely received the message of the kingdom. Their discipleship with Jesus was free of charge. Jesus now tells them as they go forth proclaiming the kingdom, to not do it for the coin. “Don’t acquire gold, silver, or copper for your money-belts” (Matthew 10:9). Freely they received, so they should freely give, expecting nothing in return.
Jesus operates on the currency of grace with His people, and this is to be our currency with others too. There is no fitting exchange rate for grace. Once we try to exchange grace for something else—swap it out for works, mere morality, or self-righteousness—we get zero back. The entire Christian life, beginning to end, is from this reality: “For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift” (Ephesians 2:8).
Brothers, we’ve freely received, so we freely give. We’ve been forgiven, so we forgive. We’ve been loved, so we love. The message of grace came to us, so we can give it to others. Jesus wants us function and serve from a place of grace, freely given to us by Him.
Remember, there is no such thing as a free lunch. It will cost you to give to others. Maybe you’ll have to spend money to help someone who is down. Perhaps you’ll spend time over lunch evangelizing. Or maybe you’ll rack up weekends serving in a prison or a pregnancy center. But these operating costs are joyfully spent because the kingdom is worth it. Jesus is worth it. It cost Jesus His blood—His very life—to free us from our sins and give us new life. We did nothing but believe.
And today, the risen Jesus invites us to freely give as we’ve freely received, to share a no-strings-attached gospel. To serve as you’ve been served by Jesus. In your day-to-day, invite others in to the experience of freely receiving the grace of Christ through you from Him.
Written by J.A. Medders