Who Wants a Dollar?

Sometimes I give away money at the end of a sermon. Not to pay the listeners (though some may feel they've earned it) but to make a point. I offer a dollar to anyone who will accept it. Free money. A gift. I invite anyone who wants the cash to come and take it.

The response is predictable. A pause. Some shuffling of feet. A wife elbows her husband, and he shakes his head. A teen starts to stand and then remembers her reputation. A five-year-old starts walking down the aisle, and his mother pulls him back. Finally some courageous (or impoverished) soul stands up and says, "I'll take it!" The dollar is given, and the application begins.

"Why didn't you take my offer?" I ask the rest.

Some say they were too embarrassed. The pain wasn't worth the gain. Others feared a catch, a trick. And then there are those whose wallets are fat. What's a buck to someone who has hundreds?

Then the obvious follow-up question. "Why don't people accept Christ's free gift?" The answers are similar. Some are too embarrassed. To accept forgiveness is to admit sin, a step we are slow to take. Others fear a trick, a catch. Surely there is some fine print in the Bible. Others think, Who needs forgiveness when you're as good as I am?

The point makes itself. Though grace is available to all, it's accepted by few. Many choose to sit and wait while only a few choose to stand and trust.

Usually that is the end of it. The lesson is over, I'm a dollar poorer, one person is a dollar richer, and all of us are a bit wiser. Something happened a couple of weeks back, however, that added a new dimension to the exercise. Myrtle was the one who said yes to the dollar. I'd made the offer and was waiting for a taker when she yelled, "I'll take it!" Up she popped and down she came and I gave her the dollar. She took her seat, I made my point, and we all went home.

I ran into her a few days later and kidded her about making money off my sermons. "Do you still have the dollar?" I asked.


"Did you spend it?"

"No, I gave it away," she answered. "When I returned to my seat a youngster asked me if he could have it, and I said, `Sure, it was a gift to me; it's a gift to you."

My, isn't that something? As simply as she received, she gave. As easily as it came, it went. The boy didn't beg, and she didn't struggle. How could she, who had been given a gift, not give a gift in return? She was caught in the grip of grace.

In the Grip of Grace

copyright [Word Publishing, 1996] Max Lucado, p. 109-110.

Used by permission

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