How would you respond if total strangers offered you a free cookie for your thoughts?
This week was the first week of university for students all over Ukraine. For our team, that meant going to different universities each day, passing out fliers and letting people know who we are and what we offer at their university.
So for a few hours each day, we set up a table, smiled and said “Hello”, received a lot of hilarious responses, and scared a number of students. Stretched across the table was a piece of paper with a large question in the middle and several colored pens scatter. The premise was simple: Answer the question and get a free cookie, which may have frightened some more than the English we spoke.
Some students excitedly approached the table, eager to hear all about us. Occasionally a few would walk past and then when curiosity got to them, or the words sank in, would turn around and come back. Most students looked at us either with great suspicion or wide-eyed terror or avoided eye contact at all cost, giving us a lot of laughs.
Possibly the quote of the week was:
“So what’s YOUR profit?”
She simply could not understand that we are not seeking to make money.
Nothing is ever free… right?
Who can blame her and the others who reacted similarly? Don’t most of us stare skeptically or just keep walking when someone offers something “FREE”, even if it is in our native language?
We instantly hear, “Nothing in life is free.” Or conditioned from years of commercials and advertisements that print out restrictions and exceptions in tiny letters no human could possibly read, we respond, Â “Yeah sure, what’s the catch?”
It is a completely foreign concept to our students that we could just desire to do this to help them. That we would be willing to come and live in Ukraine, a country most of them want to get OUT of, and that we love it here and we do what we do because we love God and love students, well it doesn’t logically make sense.
And then it occurred to me…
Just how often this is our attitude with God too.
The gift of salvation and eternal life – Yep, that’s probably too good to be true.
Healing and miracles – There MUST be some trick here.
“I’ll never leave you or forsake you…” – Â I’m not falling for that. You can’t trust anyone but yourself.
Many of us are skeptics to the core and I am included in that number. Our view of God is skewed by an infinite number of factors that all relate back to the problem of sin.
He is waiting with open arms to give us freedom from our bondage, having already paid the price for us, inviting us into His Kingdom to show others this love and we keep walking by believing we are better off without whatever craziness He is offering.
Me and my teammates laughed at the reactions we received time and time again this week. It was partially because we all know the feeling of being yelled at in a foreign language, especially when you least expect it. But I’m sure our reactions to God aren’t really laughable because it is over matters much more important than cookies and the English language.