Saying No To Free Gifts

Several months ago I mentioned a giveaway fellow speculative writer and friend Sally Apokedak has going. Those who sign up to receive a newsletter about children’s book, including young adults, will be entered in a sweepstakes with the possibility of winning a Google Nexus or Kindle Fire. The question has come up from time to time: with the possibility of winning such a cool prize, why doesn’t everyone who hears about it enter?

I’ve thought about several possibilities.

1. They already have an ereader and don’t think they need another.
2. They don’t want to take the time to fill out the form (which now only consists of supplying your name and email address).
3. They don’t want to give the required information. Originally subscribers were also asked for a physical address.
4. They don’t think they have a chance of winning.
5. They see so many give-aways, they are numb to them and barely notice them.
6. They don’t want the newsletter, so they aren’t willing to have it arrive, even twice a year, to clutter their inbox.

As you might have guessed, this post isn’t about promotional giveaways. This morning I saw a clear parallel between those who decide to say no to an author’s giveaway, and those who say no to God’s great giveaway: the free gift of salvation by God’s grace through faith in the sacrificial death and resurrection of His Son.

The first reason seems to me to be the strongest. Those who say no to God’s free gift of salvation don’t think they need salvation. Maybe they think they’re good enough or that God is such a good guy he’ll overlook their reprehensible thoughts and behavior. After all, there are so many who are worse. You know, murderers and the like, people who nobody wants to hang with for eternity. As long as they’re not as bad as those guys, then maybe they can get by.

Another possibility is that they think they can do enough to earn their own salvation. Maybe they ascribe to the “no charity” motto.

Maybe they think they shouldn’t need salvation and are too proud to let everyone know they actually do.

Secondly, I suspect there’s a good number who say no to God’s free gift because they’re too busy to pay attention to His offer. They don’t want to slow down to find out what exactly they would have to do and how their lives would change if they said yes. They might even promise themselves “someday,” thinking they’ll give it more thought later.

Undoubtedly there are some in the third camp–they wouldn’t mind a free gift if the price weren’t so high. Well, yes, it’s free, but there’s personal information they have to disclose–sins they have to confess, truths they have to believe. Getting to a place where they are willing to be so personal is asking too much in their book.

It’s possible some say no to God’s free gift of salvation because they don’t think it’s real. They think He doesn’t exist or He doesn’t care. Or they think their lives have been so unutterably evil that God couldn’t possibly extend salvation to them.

A fifth reason for saying no to God is that there are so many offers on the table, each saying this about God or that or the other. He’s interested in making you healthy and wealthy, he hates gays, he will bring everyone into heaven eventually, he is one with the universe–in us all and all of us in him–and so on. Who knows if the story about Jesus dying in their place to pay for their sins so that their salvation is free, is reliable and true when there are so many other possibilities?

Lastly, there are undoubtedly some who say no to God’s free gift of salvation because they don’t want to see Him showing up in their house, at their place of business, at their parties, or any of the other places they hang out. Salvation, frankly, isn’t appealing because God is attached to the gift. They don’t want “such a tyrant” bossing them around.

Amazing, isn’t it? Something so valuable, so necessary, so life-changing, and yet person after person refuses the free gift. They have their reasons, after all.

Published in: on September 5, 2012 at 5:47 pm  Comments (4)  
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  1. So when you put it like this, I guess I don’t feel bad that people haven’t been beating down my door to sign up for my little book review newsletter. 🙂

    So sad, though, that so many do turn away from God. I’d say going beyond not wanting to give personal info, many people don’t want to give up their lifestyles. That was my thing when I was young. I thought God was a party-pooper and I wanted to have my fun.

    I did think sin was fun. UGH. I can’t even understand now how I thought that.


    • I remember thinking sin was fun too, and I used to feel a little cheated when I heard people give testimonies about being saved out of a wild life style. I’d think, they got all the fun and then God’s blessings too. No fair! How silly that seems now. How thankful I am for what God preserved and protected me from. It’s hard enough to deal with the fallout from my own sins.



  2. We also have those who never heard of the free gift, possibly because they skipped over that particular blog post (well, maybe I just missed it…), or they were not subscribed to any blog that mentioned the giveaway, or they had no friend to tell them.

    This corresponds to the lost unreached people groups – possibly even those next door – who have never heard the good news of salvation from anyone, from picking up a Bible in a hotel, to a televangelist, to their neighbor.

    And relating to #3, perhaps they fear a hidden cost – that God is setting a trap for them and they’ll be miserable once they accept the gift (perhaps they don’t want to have to purchase ebooks?) – not realizing that God’s kindness leads us to repentance, and His love is setting us up for a hope and a future!



  3. Thanks for extending the analogy, Rebekah. It’s amazing how one comparison like this can help us understand the thinking of others in an entirely different experience.

    And ultimately, you’ve nailed the bottom line–those who turn down God’s free gift don’t realize the truth about God. Whatever their reason, they are choosing to believe something else, as opposed to what God has said about His free gift. It’s Eve’s sin all over again.

    I appreciate your comment.



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