Giving the Gospel Freely

Freely you have received, freely give. This is a great principle of the Christian life. We do not protest when God gives to us, when He loads us with blessings and mercies. That would be unnatural. We receive His gifts freely without a fuss. This is the way we are to give to others: freely (and without a fuss).

I have always thought of this verse in terms of financial and material blessings: God gives to me, and I in turn give to others. So it startled me the other morning when I noticed the context of this statement in Matthew 10. Jesus has called His disciples, and He is giving them instructions as He sends them out to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

“Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give” (vs. 8).

The giving that the disciples will be doing is not in the form of financial gifts. They will be giving themselves away, laying themselves out for sick, unclean, dead, and demon-possessed people. And they’ll be getting no tax deductible receipt at the end of the month. Not very glamorous work. They received freely from Christ, and now they are to give to others by means of His power and grace.

So how do we do this kind of giving? We certainly do not have the same gifts as the apostles. But we do have the same Gospel, the same forgiveness of sins; we have received the same Good News. How did we receive healing, cleansing, resurrection life, and deliverance? Freely. Joyfully. Gratefully. And that is the way we are to give others the Good News. In other words, this verse is about evangelism. We are to give this Good News freely, the same way we received it.

I think by extension we can also apply this to all kinds of service to others, whether it is for our newborn children, our aging parents, our uncooperative co-workers, or the pedestrian walking casually across the street when we are in a hurry to get somewhere. It’s a great standard to hold ourselves to; it is a form of doing unto others the way we would like them to do unto us.  How do we receive a cup of cold water? We should give it the same way.

And finally, I think it does apply to financial giving. How do we receive a big check in the mail? With a whoop and a holler? So we give it the same way (only we do the whooping quietly in our closet).

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11 thoughts on “Giving the Gospel Freely

  1. Thank you for so freely sharing your life with us. I’ve learned so much on how to live out my faith. Your family has been an enormous blessing to my family. Thank you!

  2. Thank you for sharing the context. Could I add that acts of service should INDEED accompany the sharing of the gospel lest we share Christ without a warm attitude and coldly hhhmmph off or share Christ with a hurting person and not help their hurt-really doesn’t make the gospel seem that great to a nonbeliever if we’ve been cold or left them lying there, bleeding.

  3. Amen. Adding on to applying this to babies, a wise older mother of many counseled me before my first was born, “Don’t count how many times the baby wakes, don’t calculate how many hours of sleep you managed to get, just don’t. God will give you the sleep you *need* to get through the day.” Pouring ourselves out for the little ones is exhausting many days (and nights!), but this was a good reminder to give of myself freely and joyfully. Thanks!

  4. This is part of what it means to be a living sacrifice — not just laying down one’s life all at once in a dramatic, deadly martyrdom, but taking up one’s cross daily and driving every moment through with the nails of obedient love. It’s easy to kill time, much harder to make sure it dies a meaningful death.

  5. Thank you again, Mrs. Wilson, for your insight—and for the amusing mental picture of whooping quietly in the closet. (She danced exuberantly on tiptoe among the coat hangers, checkbook in hand, and whispered, “Hurrah!”)

  6. 1. Very convicting words. I definitely need to do some more pouring out.

    2. Some of the people writing in the comments are exceptionally gifted in phrase turning.

  7. Thank you for all you give – and the younger ladies as well.
    In the past several months I have been blessed greatly by your books and your blog.
    I look forward to hearing you (and your husband) speak in Ohio!

  8. Been thinking about this since I read it earlier today. One obvious thing that we have received is forgiveness and grace and so …. we must also freely.

  9. Thank you Nancy! And, may God have mercy on us, and forgive us -me in my unbelief! May God revive us, open our eyes, and enable us to stop looking at how we’ve been wronged, or provoked. May we look to Him, “to heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.” May He be glorified in our salt, in our humility, as we lay down our lives, our plans and our will – as a sacrifice to Him. We continue to notice those around us, who have shown grace in serving others, with beauty and grace. May God make us a blessing to those around us.“

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