“Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.”
Joseph realized what this Gospel statement of Jesus meant long before Jesus himself ever uttered it. Given his position of power, he could have had all of his brothers imprisoned or worse because of what they did to him. But he doesn’t do that. Instead, the anger in his heart is broken, and he realizes that what happened to him since being sold into Egypt was eventually a very great gift. In fact, it was such a great gift that it fulfilled God’s plan for the people. And he was glad to be reunited with them. He realized that he had been given many blessings without cost, and he was now prepared to bestow them on his brothers in the same way.
We too have received so much without cost. Think about the place we live. We are in one of the richest cities in one of the riches counties in what is, hands down, the richest nation on earth. Not only that, we are able to worship freely here today, without fear of persecution or any kind of danger. This church building provides refuge from the weather, be it hot or cold, snow or rain. We have places to live and food to eat, and freedom to do whatever pleases us. Whatever we have worked hard for, even the ability to work that hard was given to us. We have talents and gifts that we could never have produced in ourselves. Even our ability to think, reason and communicate comes from God. Without cost we have received indeed.
And now we, like the Apostles, are being told to give without cost. To use our talents and gifts to build up the kingdom and not just our own interests. To take advantage of our ability to worship freely and let the Lord mold us into disciples who can make an impact on the world. To share our incredible resources with all God’s people. Because there has been no limit to God’s lavish giving, there can be no limit to our grateful sharing. Without cost we have received, without cost may we give.