“He said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”-Luke 14:12-14
“For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews on behalf of God’s truth, so that the promises made to the patriarchs might be confirmed and, moreover, that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy.-Romans 15:8-9
Should we try and pay God back for all the good he’s done for us? We should not try to pay God back because this would be an attempt to steal God’s glory.
Rather, we should now serve him because it benefits us, glorifies him, and is a proper response of thankfulness towards God’s free gift of grace given to us through Christ Jesus.
God Gives Us Grace for His Own Glory, Not So We Will Pay Him Back
Everything Jesus tells us to do he does himself. Jesus tells us we are to help the poor and those who cannot repay us because when we do something for people and they repay us, we miss out on our heavenly reward. God instructs us not to be motivated by selfish earthly rewards, but he does tell us we should be motivated by heavenly rewards that benefit us and glorify him.
Likewise, this is God’s model for saving people as well. So often we feel that since God has saved us we must spend the rest of our lives repaying him for what he has done for us through the work of Christ. But this is not what God wants. He does want us to serve him, but not in a way where we are working off the debt we owe him in attempt to “pay God back”.
God is glorified through granting us grace because he knows we are “the poor, the cripples, the lame, the blind” (Luke 14:14) who cannot pay him back. Because God has granted us a free gift of grace that we cannot repay him for, he in return is blessed by his own actions. If we could somehow pay God back, we would be stealing his blessing to himself.
We are to serve God with all of our heart, for “he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised” (2 Corinthians 5:15). But we are also to remember that “All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18).
Therefore, our service should not be rooted in a motivation to pay God back but to praise God for giving us the gift that we could never repay him for.
God grants us grace for the same reason he does everything that he does – for his glory. How wonderful it is to live for a God who glorifies himself while in the process blesses us.
May we spend our lives seeking to glorify him as well, not to pay God back but because we can never repay him for all that he has done for us through Jesus Christ.