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  • Writer's pictureHeather Thomas Van Deren

No Payback Needed

Updated: Feb 21, 2020

When I moved to the country as a married adult, my small family bought our first farm. Oh, we already owned a few horses, & I was no stranger to country living, having grown up spending summers in the country with my grandparents, and also tending to my animals as a youngster living in rural Texas, such as chickens, ducks, rabbits, & a horse here and there. But after moving onto our own 50-acre spread, we quickly realized we needed equipment which we did not have. We needed a tractor first and foremost.

We didn’t exactly have the funds for a tractor, so my most wonderful dad said, “Heather, I’ll help you out on that. I’ll lend you what you need, because this is important.” I agreed to my dad’s offer. We bought a vintage 1965 Massey Ferguson Diesel Tractor from a friend. It was a little rough looking, but it ran like a champ.

I was taught not to borrow anything unless you were willing to pay back every penny, so I dutifully started a ledger on the cost of the tractor, in order to keep track of our payback to dad. I began to re-pay him, a little bit as often as we could. I would deduct from the amount owed, and watched the debt slowly lessen. My dad always graciously accepted each payment I handed him. It sure did seem like the balance on that ledger was going down slowly, though.

One day my dad was sitting at our kitchen table during a visit. He was quiet for awhile, then said, “Heather, I have decided that I’m going to forgive that debt you owe on the Massey.” I insisted we would pay him back as promised. He just said, “No, I want you to tear up that ledger you’re keeping. It’s not necessary anymore.” That’s just the way my dad was.

Daddy demonstrated his love for me that day. He didn’t have to do what he did. But he loved me enough to erase my debt. I was fortunate to have a father who showed me what God’s love was like. You see, God also loves you & me so much that He erased our debt to Him, too. A debt we could never repay. In the Bible, Romans 5:8 says, “God demonstrates His love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” And Romans 6:23 says, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Free. No payback needed. We couldn’t pay God enough to be accepted into heaven. Instead He offers us the gift of eternal life, free of charge. He doesn’t look at our sin or the things we’ve done wrong. He just reaches out to us & says “Tear up that ledger you’ve been keeping of your sin debt. Receive my gift of forgiveness. That gift was my Son, Jesus. Just believe.”

Have you done it? If not, won’t you do it today? It’s not too late. Don’t you want to go to heaven? Tear up your ledger and accept the gift of Jesus. That’s all you have to do. No payback needed!

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