DayBreaks for 9/12/17: Take This Poor Indian, Too
From the DayBreaks archive, 9/2007:
When you go to the grocery store (or sporting goods store!) the next time, if you buy something, you have to give something in exchange to get it. It may be currency that you hand over, it may be a debit or credit card – but one way or another, in order to get what you want, you have to give up something. It is at that moment that you make a decision about the value of what you want. Is it worth $10? $20? Are you willing to part with the price that is demanded to get what you want?
We’re used to having to pay for things. In fact, most of us who are Baby Boomers grew up really struggling to receive anything as a gift. There’s a pride in us that blocks our being able to be gracious recipients of anything that we haven’t had to pay for. We often talk about having to “swallow our pride” in order to take a handout. Sad, but true, I fear.
And so it is that when it comes to Christianity, perhaps this is the biggest stumbling block of all. We want to pay for our salvation. We just can’t get it through our heads that we can’t do that. That salvation has to come to us as a gift, freely given, to be freely received.
An incident is related of a missionary who came into contact with a proud and powerful Indian chief. The chief, trembling under conviction of his sin, approached the missionary and offered his belt of wampum as atonement. “No!” said the missionary, “Christ cannot accept a sacrifice like that.” The Indian departed, but soon returned offering his valuable rifle and the most beautiful skins he had taken in hunting. “No!” was the reply, “Christ cannot accept those either.” Again the Indian went away, only to return with a conscience more troubled than ever. This time he offered his wigwam, together with his wife and child—everything for peace and pardon. “No,” was the reply even to this, “Christ cannot accept such a sacrifice.” At this the chief seemed utterly oppressed; but suddenly he somehow sensed the deficiency, for, lifting up tearful eyes, he cried out, “Here, Lord, take this poor Indian too!”
The chief in the story had to weigh values and what he was willing to part with. He began with a simple wampum belt, escalated to a rifle and skins, only to be rebuffed. At the next encounter, the chief thought he was giving all he had – his home, wife and child – truly a costly thing. But even that wasn’t enough. What God wanted was the man himself. And when the chief finally understood that all God wanted was “him”, salvation came to that man.
We’re often willing to part with things that aren’t all that important to us. Thank goodness God didn’t feel that way.
PRAYER: I fear, Lord, that I’m not very generous when it comes to giving up my own life and ways. We’ve grown comfortable in our skins. We’re willing to pay some price, but often we’re not willing to pay the full price to follow you. I thank you that salvation cannot be earned, for our striving would become cause for pride. Help us to open our hands to receive the gift of your life, and in gratitude to give you the gift of ours. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>