January 29, 2008
And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for he says, “The old is better.” Luke 5:39
My grandmother, Frieda Reinhardt, considered herself “frugal”. Frugal, that is, but never cheap. I don’t know about that, but I’m absolutely sure she never paid ninety dollars for a bottle of wine in her life. To Grandma, one wine was pretty much the same as another. And when it came to quality, she maintained, “It’s all in your head.”
She may have been right. Last month a journal called the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published a report from the California Institute of Technology and Stanford Business School. In a variation of what Jesus said about wine preferences in our Scripture today, these giants of academia and higher learning have concluded people enjoy a ninety dollar bottle of wine more than they enjoy one that sells for ten.
Many of my wine aficionado friends are saying, “That’s a real no-brainer.”
Maybe. . . but here’s the catch. For the experiment the wine in both bottles was the same. You got it. . . it was the very same wine. The only difference is one group of people were told the wine cost ninety dollars and the other was informed the wine was selling for ten dollars.
The scientists did all kinds of fancy studies and used a lot of big words that explained what had happened in people’s brains. It all boils down to this fact: When people think they’re getting something very expensive their brain appreciates it more.
Just goes to prove what one of our directors at Lutheran Hour Ministries used to say, “People don’t appreciate something if it’s free. . . or cheap.”
Maybe that’s why so many people don’t appreciate their salvation.
You see, the price Jesus paid for our redemption cost Him everything. He left heaven to become one of us. He turned from the praises of the angels and allowed Himself to be bombarded by the verbal insults and challenges of those who hated Him. Jesus spent His life and died a terrible death so that all those who believe on Him as their sacrificing and sacrificed Substitute might be freely forgiven and saved.
But many people, instead of seeing what their redemption cost Jesus, prefer to think of the “nothing” it cost them. And since it cost them nothing, to them it’s worth nothing.
That kind of thinking is not only wrong, it’s downright dangerous. This is why our prayer is twofold. We’re going to give thanks for free faith that has been given to us, and we’re going to ask the Lord to give it to others.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, for giving me eternal life, which I did not, could not earn, I praise You. Now, I ask that You will send Your Holy Spirit to open the minds of the many who don’t understand the sacrifice You have made so they might be saved. In Your Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries