Before we headed to our first meal on the ship we read the food/dining guide information that was in our stateroom. It gave the prices for some of the various onboard eateries. Their menus looked wonderful. The seating was special. It was tempting to make some reservations.
But then we noticed a couple of important facts. The prices at these eateries were somewhat on the high side. And there were numerous places where we could eat without reservations and without paying any additional cost. Dining and food was included in the ships’ package deal. It was already purchased. The temptation to make reservations at the higher end locations quickly faded. After all, we Dutch folk are all for the cheaper fare!
As I began to think about paying for what’s already included I realized a strong spiritual parallel. So often we try to ‘pay’ or ‘buy’ our way into God’s good graces. We commit to study more, pray more, or attend church more regularly. We do good deeds to pile up the credits. We bargain with God – ‘God if You will do this I’ll do this’ – to gain something more from Him. We do so because we forget to check the guide and menus.
The truth is, when God saved us it was a package deal. Everything we try to pay for is already ours. It’s included in the deal, along with so much more. Here’s some of God’s menu already available to us.
We have joy (John 15:11)
We are beyond condemnation (Romans 8:1)
We are more than conquerors (Romans 8:37)
We have been adopted (Ephesians 1:5 & Romans 8:15)
We have abundant life (John 10:10)
We are blessed (Ephesians 1:3)
We are loved (Ephesians 1:4)
We are chosen (Ephesians 1:4)
We are forgiven (Ephesians 1:7)
We are redeemed (Ephesians 1:7)
We are lavished with the riches of His grace (Ephesians 1:7-8)
We have incredible power (Ephesians 1:19-20 & 3:20)
\We have a seat in the heavenly with Jesus (Ephesians 2:6)
We have access to God at any moment (Ephesians 2:18)
We are members of His kingdom (Colossians 1:13)
We will never be abandoned (Hebrews 13:5)
We have an imperishable inheritance (1 Peter 1:4)
Isn’t it rather foolish and fruitless to pay for what’s already purchased – especially if, in the process of paying, we miss the most exquisite menu and most nourishing food of all?
I wonder how much life-changing, healthy food I’ve missed, and how much effort I’ve wasted because I have failed to keep God’s menu in front of me.
Now here’s the really good news. The bottom line of our sailing excursion was that we had already paid for the food; it was included in what we paid. It wasn’t really ‘free.’ But God’s food was paid for by Jesus; it’s truly free.
Take some time each day to look at God’s menu. Digest His offerings. Respond to His invitation:
“Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost.
2 Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and you will delight in the richest of fare.