I. THE GIFT OF GOD
God never sells anything. Gift means a present one gives to others. God’s things are always given to man as gifts. As long as one wants it, it will be given to him. If someone does not want it, it will not be given to him. This is the way with everything that God gives to man. This is true not only with spiritual matters, but with material things as well. God gives us sunshine and never asks for money. The rain comes from heaven, and He never asks for money in return. It is the same when you ask for spiritual satisfaction.
Once there was a child who loved his mother very much. He wanted to buy some flowers for her to make her happy, but he only had two coins in his pocket. He saw a very beautiful garden, and he went in, thinking that he could buy some flowers. A gentleman was there, and the child told him why he had come. The man just picked a bunch of flowers and gave them to him. The boy said, "I cannot take them for free." The man responded, "My flowers are always given away. If you want them, I will give them to you." Who was that man? He was the Prince of Wales. The garden was the royal garden. The things of the royal family were never for sale. If he gives you something, you only have to receive it.
If you want satisfaction today, you can have it right away; you do not have to wait until you have completed something to get it. In writing a book, you have to spend a great deal of time preparing it. But in receiving a book, you do not have to do anything. Preparing a meal is time consuming, but eating the meal does not take much time. Preparing a dress is labor-intensive, but putting on the dress does not take much labor. If you have worries within, if your environment is oppressing you, and if you want satisfaction, you can have it right away. You do not have to do anything. He will come to you and provide for you. Oh, the gifts of God are free; He never sells anything.
When the prodigal son in Luke was hungry, "he longed to be satisfied with the carob pods which the hogs were eating, and no one gave him anything" (15:16). This is the principle of the world: when you have it, you have it; when you do not have it, you do not have it. One is just one, and two is just two. The principle of the devil is the same. In the world, if you give me something, I must give you back something. The world never gives you anything for free. Even if you have nothing, you have to give your soul away. However, there is one place that will provide things for free: the Father’s house. The best thing for the prodigal son was to go home. He once said to his father, "Give me the share of the estate that falls to me. And he distributed to them his living" (15:12). Later when the son returned to his father’s home, did he deserve to eat a meal? Did he deserve to have a robe? No. Everything was grace because he had spent all that he deserved to have. God’s way of salvation is to give you something for free. It is not how much you give Him, but how much He gives you. Many people think that as long as they can behave well or pray more, God will grant something to them. However, this is the concept of their commercial mentality; God never acts this way.
What is the gift of God? We can read John 3:16: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that every one who believes into Him would not perish, but would have eternal life." This gift is not gold or silver, but the Son of God. God sent His Son to die for us and laid all our sins on Him. God gives us such a Son.
I like putting John 3:16, which says, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son," together with John 1:12, which says, "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the authority to become children of God." John 3:16 says that God gave us His Son; John 1:12 says that we receive His Son. He gives and we receive. If there is anyone among us today who does not know how to be saved, let me tell you the way. All you have to do is receive the Son of God. One woman said that she had been doing good for more than thirty years and that she hoped that God would save her. But I can tell you that this is the tiding of woe from hell. The Bible says, "Whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Rom. 10:13). As soon as you call on Him, you will be saved. The Bible also says, "He who believes into the Son has eternal life" (John 3:36). As soon as you believe, you will be saved. This is God’s gospel. If you think that you can be saved by doing good and that salvation is dependent upon good works, the whole world will perish.
II. THE CHRIST SENT FROM GOD
We must know not only the gift of God but also the One who says, "Give me something to drink." Today the One who is sitting by the well, who is lowly and wearied, and who has experienced so much hardship is the very gift of God. It is useless for you to merely know that God’s gift is free. You must know that the Christ who is opposed by men today is the gift of God. You must know that the Jesus who is called a bastard by many is the gift of God. This Jesus who was sitting by the well, who was wearied and despised by men—the One whom men would not worship or believe in—is the gift of God. Many of those who go to hell believe in God. The first one among them is the devil; he believes that there is God. Everyone in hell believes in God, but no one believes in Jesus. This lowly Jesus, who was called a bastard, a traitor of Rome, and an imperialist, is the gift of God. If you know this Jesus, you will surely say to Him, "You are the gift of God, please give me the living water that I may be satisfied."
(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 1) Vol. 18: Notes on Scriptural Messages (2), Chapter 15, by Watchman Nee)