The Best Things In Life Are Free

(Note: This article was written when I was married.) My father-in-law, Dan, has a green thumb. Everything he grows tastes so much better than what you buy at the grocery store. Every year, he plants a huge garden that produces far more food than he could eat. Why does he toil over his garden all summer long? Because he likes to give away the fruits of his labor. Before his wife passed away, she would say that Dan would give away their house if she didn't keep any eye on him. He gives away green beans, tomatoes, turnips, grapes, peaches, pears, and apples. He grins and laughs when people say they appreciate his gifts. It pleases him when someone enjoys his garden.

I like sitting at the kitchen table and talking with Dan. He has seen a lot over the course of his eighty years of life. It is fascinating to listen to him reminisce about the past. He loves to talk about history. But he doesn't look to only the past. He is very interested in politics and current affairs. And he has a keen sense of justice and believes that all people should be treated fairly. It really outrages him when he hears of people getting rich, while other people are being trampled over, or even starving to death.

I enjoy doing things for Dan. He doesn't drive, so we often get groceries for him. And sometimes he needs an item from a hardware store to fix something in his house. When I go the store, they don't always carry the exact product he has used in the past. They replace tried-and-true products with plastic and rubberized products. But I keep looking until I find what he wants. If I absolutely cannot find what he wants, I describe to him what is available so he can choose from what is available. I could just tell him I can't find the item after looking at the first store, but I keep looking because I know he would do the same for someone else.

In an age when everyone is always in a hurry, trying to do ten things at one time, it is refreshing to know someone who has the time to sit and chat, with no other motivation than to just visit and enjoy each other's company. In an age when people are so stubbornly independent, it is a joy to know someone who will let you into his life. Someone who will let you help take care of him. And someone who is willing to help take care of you. When I first met Dan, I was afraid to approach him. He has a deep gravely voice that makes him seem very gruff. And Dan did have his rougher days, but I did not know him then. So that has not been a part of our relationship. Dan and I are not blood relatives; we are related only by marriage. But I think the friendship we share is stronger than that of many blood relatives. I am not his son, but he is just as proud of me as though I were his own son.

Does it seem odd to you that I could be just like a son to someone to whom I am related only by marriage? Well, it shouldn't. After all, Christians are children of God. Christians can call God their "Father", or even "Daddy". (In Romans 8:15 and Galatians 4:6, Abba means Daddy or Papa.)

God may seem hard to approach, like He is this gruff, all-powerful dude, handing out death and damnation to those who defy Him. He is that to those who deny Him a place in their hearts. But for those who have the courage to reach out to God for help, God will reach back to them with everlasting life, love, and compassion.

How do you let God into your hearts? By letting go of the sin in your lives. Pray to God. Ask Him to forgive you of your sins. And He will. He is a forgiving Father. And a loving Daddy. Then God will be just as proud of you as though you were His own son. Because you will be His own son. And your rougher days will not be a part of your relationship with God. Your sins will be washed away like they had never happened. God will wipe the slate clean.

Dan sang "The Best Things In Life Are Free" for us. And he is right. God's love is free. But we have to ask for it. We have to admit that we need God's help. And we have to live our lives God's way, not our way. (Romans 12)

Please don't thank me for writing this to call your attention to God's love and forgiveness. Thank Jesus. He is the one who died on the cross for us. He was a sacrifice for us; His blood washed away our sins. Christ made it possible for us to call God, "Daddy". And thank God for sending His son.

Thank you, Jesus.

And thank you, Daddy.

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