2 Samuel 24:21-24 21 Araunah said, “Why has my lord the king come to his servant?” “To buy your threshing floor,” David answered, “so I can build an altar to the LORD, that the plague on the people may be stopped.” 22 Araunah said to David, “Let my lord the king take whatever pleases him and offer it up. Here are oxen for the burnt offering, and here are threshing sledges and ox yokes for the wood. 23 O king, Araunah gives all this to the king.” Araunah also said to him, “May the LORD your God accept you.” 24 But the king replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen and paid fifty shekels of silver for them.
Nothing in life worth anything is free, is it? That free service you signed up for has a catch. That free food tastes like, um, not food. That free trial program just billed $19.95 to your credit card. Check the fine print, people. Free has an ulterior motive. But we like free – it is enticing and it is easy. Free doesn’t cause us any pain; it doesn’t cost. Relationships aren’t free either. Sacrifice, compromise, and time are all a part of relationships. You have to give something of yourself to have a great relationship. That isn’t a bad thing, it just costs you something.
“I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” This reminds me of the story Jesus told about the widow who gave her last coin to the Lord. He compared her to those with great wealth who gave more in quantity. But they gave out of their excess; it didn’t cost them all that much. For the widow, it cost her everything. And David understood this heart approach to God. He was at a place of repentance and he wanted to get right with God. He knew that if someone just provided all the stuff for his sacrifice, it would be too easy. He needed to feel the pain of loss. He wanted to let God know how truly sorry he was. So he insisted on paying something.
As much as I don’t like saying it, walking with God is going to cost me something. It is going to require my time as I sacrifice to make time with Him. It is going to cost money as I commit not only to responding to Him in obedience by tithing, but by being His very hands and feet and giving to the poor and needy. It will certainly come out of my lack, for I have no overflow… neither of time or money. It will cost me my flesh, too. It will cause me to give up my selfishness and pursue His thoughts about my day. It will require that I put Him first and me last. But it’s all worth it. Like David, I don’t want God to just get what is left over in my life; I want to give Him my best. Even if it costs me my comfort.