How Much Does God Still “Owe” You?

By Fang Xin

I read a short story titled “You Owe Me A Debt.” It goes like this: “When a beggar asked for 100 dollars from a passer-by, the passer-by told him that he had only 80 dollars, then he gave it to the beggar. However, the beggar put the money into his pocket, but he didn’t give any thanks to the passer-by.” Then what did he say to the passer-by? I thought what he said next must be astonishing to us all—“Rather, the beggar, with complete confidence, said, ‘Then, you owe me 20 dollars.’”

After reading this story, I felt sorry for the passer-by and thought that the beggar didn’t have any reason. He should have thanked the passer-by for his kindness. But in the beggar’s eyes, the passer-by should give money to him. When what he got didn’t reach his standard of requirements, he even said the passer-by owed him money. He should consider himself to be the giver’s creditor. How unreasonable this beggar was!

But one day I suddenly realized: In our actual life, we are also unknowingly acting as a beggar in varying degrees. Some people are in good health yet complain to Heaven that they are not good-looking; some have natural charm yet complain to Heaven that they weren’t born with a silver spoon in their mouth; some don’t have to worry about food or clothes yet complain that Heaven doesn’t bestow upon them the worldly riches; some have a spouse who can work hard yet complain that Heaven doesn’t give them a perfect match…. We are all complaining that God is unfair, holding the view that God owes us too much. All we think about is that God should bless us unconditionally and do everything according to our way. It seems as if we are God’s creditors, the ones who demand payment from God. When we have got God’s blessings, we don’t think the things that we’ve got are many enough or good enough. Our greedy heart has long ago replaced our gratitude to God.

In the church, I saw everyone was asking for grace and blessings from the Lord. I also asked pastors to pray for my children’s jobs and marriage and the sick members in my family, in order to receive the grace of the Lord and obtain His healing. I took it for granted that I was God’s greatest creditor, and that He should bestow upon me all that I asked for unconditionally. The day before I took the university entrance examination, I went to the church and prayed to the Lord Jesus for me to enter an ideal university, and I prayed for my friends too. When the result came, things didn’t turn out the way I wanted it and I wasn’t enrolled in a key university. I thought, “Why do my classmates whose grades used to be lower than mine surpassed me and enter better universities than me? Doesn’t the Lord fulfill anything man asks for? Why doesn’t the Lord bless me?” I was filled with doubt, disobedience and complaint toward the Lord.

One day, my neighbors came to offer their presents and congratulations for me. They said that even though I was only enrolled in an ordinary university, it was still good because there were quite some students who failed to get into such a university. Although I knew that even entering an ordinary university was something admirable and hard-earned, yet I didn’t have a heart of gratitude. Instead, I complained to the Lord that He didn’t fulfill my desire, and that He didn’t give me wisdom and inspiration I could take full advantage of to enter a better university. This matter became a barrier between the Lord and me.

Until one day, I read the Book of Job. Job never sought anything for himself, but often he offered sacrifices to God, thanking God for all that God bestowed upon him. Even though God tried him and took away all his possessions, including his children, he still prostrated on the ground and praised God, saying, “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD” (Job 1:21). Job knew that he came into this world with nothing and that all he possessed were special blessings from God. No matter what or how much God gave him, or even when God took away all his possessions, he never made any complaint but offered up his praise to God for His sovereignty and wise deeds. At any time, he treated God as the Creator. In the end, when God saw Job’s true heart, He greatly blessed Job, giving him double what he had previously possessed.

I admired Job for his reason, goodness and obedience from the bottom of my heart. Comparing what I asked for or desired with his, I felt shamed and humiliated. Immediately, my complaint and misunderstanding vanished into thin air like smoke and was replaced by the great indebtedness to the Lord. Now I understand: We are just made of dust by God and owned nothing in the beginning. Whatever conditions or fortunes we have, they are all special grace from Heaven. We should know about giving thanks for all things. Just as it says in the Bible, “Rejoice ever more. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks….” (1 Thessalonians 5:16–18). At the same time, I made a resolution to pursue to fear God and shun evil like Job, have the same reason as Job had, and obey God’s sovereignty, so that I could satisfy God and thank Him for all that He has bestowed upon me, and forsake the “beggarly” life.

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