Five years ago, my car broke down. I mean, totally broke down. It wasn’t drivable or fixable. As a family, we try to avoid debt as much as possible, but we had no money to buy a used car. I knew we were in big trouble as a family and needed to make some tough decisions. In the midst of us trying to figure out what to do, Lindsay posted a message to Facebook. And within one hour, some dear friends had given us a car! We were floored. I mean, who gives someone a car?

Have you ever been given a gift like that? A gift so amazing that you didn’t know how to respond? A gift that was so gracious and over the top that you felt unworthy to accept it? Some gifts can’t be repaid, and any attempt to offset the cost might cheapen the gesture.

When you’ve been given a gift, it is best to receive and not repay.

I never believed I could earn the righteousness of Christ, but I felt so indebted to God, I felt so unworthy, that I had to do something. Not because I wanted to earn it, but because I felt that repaying was the right thing to do.

Our daughters, Lola and Harper, had one wish last Christmas. They talked about it all the time and begged us to get them one any time a commercial came on the TV. All they wanted was a Barbie DreamHouse.

They were persistent in their requests to get this item for Christmas. It was all they wanted. For months, we told the girls that we would have to see what Santa brought them. (Yes, we are those parents. Don’t judge us.) But all along, we knew we would buy them this gift. For starters, it was less expensive than the pony Lola wanted, and more importantly, we knew the girls would love this gift, and it would make them so happy.

Christmas morning came, and the girls were ecstatic about their DreamHouse. They absolutely loved it. The shrieks of joy are still ringing through the walls of our home. They loved the gift, and we loved every moment of seeing them enjoy it. What Lindsay and I wanted in that moment was simply to sit back and watch the girls enjoy their gift.

Now imagine if, in a quiet moment, Lola pulled us aside and said, “Thanks so much, Mom and Dad. I know this must have cost you some money, and I really want to repay you for this gift. Would $5 about cover it?”

Lola’s gesture, although cute, would have trivialized our gift. We didn’t give her a gift to be repaid, we gave her a gift for her to enjoy.

I think the same is true with our gift from God. God doesn’t want to be repaid by tithes, attendance or devotion. God simply wants us to enjoy his free gift of salvation. Any attempt to repay him only trivializes the gift.

When you’ve been given a gift, it is best to receive and not repay.