The Bagel Seduction

cropped-img_38361.jpgBeing a penny pincher, I have a hard time resisting anything that’s free. Maybe I’m weird—if I pass up something that’s free, I feel like I’m wasting my money. Am I alone in this?

Lured once again by the Sirens of free food, I find myself writing this blog at Panera Bread. Sometimes it’s free coffee for a month. Sometimes it’s a free pastry of my choice. This week, it’s a free bagel, every day for seven days. I love bagels, so “free” plus “bagel” equals “I’m-there-wild-horses-couldn’t-stop-me.”

Of course, I can’t always use things that are free. Last week at a car show, I stuffed my backpack with free pens—although I already had four or five—and my stomach with free candy—which I absolutely did not need. When some friends and I stopped at a newly-opened craft store and the owner said we could take anything we wanted from the upper room, I loaded two bags full—only politeness and a twinge of embarrassment kept me from taking a third.

I never, ever, have unused Kohl’s Cash. And when I go to Costco, I take a free food sample from every product demonstrator.  We even got our first dog thanks to a “free puppy add.”

Last month, it was replacement blades for a razor.

“What are these?” My husband asked as he came into the living room, holding up tworazor-587625_960_720 packages of Gillette Mach 3 cartridges.

“One of the managers at the store was giving them away. I think they were free samples or something.”

My husband stared at them. “Honey, I use an electric razor.”

“I know. But they were free,” I said. Which, in my mind, explained everything.

“What am I going to do with them?”

“No clue,” I told him. “But they were free.”

I think I’m in good company, however, in my inability to pass up anything that’s free. Years ago, when a windstorm knocked over our rabbit hutches, allowing our boy rabbit to become acquainted with our girl rabbit, people called for weeks to inquire about our “free baby bunnies,” although they were gone less than an hour after the ad ran. When I’m out walking the evening before trash day, it’s not unusual to see waiting in line-540519__340someone loading an item they found at the curb into their vehicle. And when I see a line of people, I can bet my bottom dollar it’s for a free give-away. (Unless, of course, the latest iPhone or PlayStation system is now available.)

Yep, we all love free stuff. Which makes me wonder…

Why, then, don’t we have a line of people waiting for God’s free gift of salvation?

Our big God sacrificed his only son, who paid the penalty for our sins, so that we could have eternal life…just by receiving it. That’s it. We don’t have to do anything to earn it, and we don’t have to pay for it ourselves—neither of which we could do anyway. Jesus already bore the cost. All we have to do is accept it. And him.

Talk about the freebie of a lifetime.worshipping-god-2101347_960_720

Actually, the freebie of eternal life—the most wondrous gift ever.

Now that’s worth a wait in line.

And definitely a lot better than bagels.

The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life. (Revelations 22:17 NIV)

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