Ever heard the saying “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth?”
I’ve had a little bit of experience with gift horses over the years. The first gift horse I ever met happened along when I was twelve. He was a free-be thrown in along with another horse we bought from a family friend. His name was Sylvester. He was a twenty seven year old, bay, American Quarter Horse, one of the best horses I ever owned and the horse that I learned to really ride on.
Although I’m from Texas and have always ridden Western, the only way I can think to describe Sylvester is as an English gentleman through and through. He had a fine proud Roman nose, a dignified arched neck under saddle, and was the sweetest gentlest horse I ever met.
I hardly ever bothered to saddle him up. I was homeschooled and whenever I had a reading assignment, I’d run out into the pasture, hop up on Sylvester, lay down on his back and read while he grazed. When I did saddle him, we raced around the pasture as fast as his poor tired twenty-seven year old legs could go. I still remember the first time I went so fast the wind brought tears to my eyes!
Sylvester was an exceptional gift horse! He died a few years ago at the ripe age of thirty two and we’ve missed him ever since.
He definitely did not fit the saying. Not only was he a great horse but he had a pretty fair set of teeth in his head! And even though he was old, we didn’t have any trouble keeping weight on him until his last year.
A little bit ago, I met the proverbial “gift horse.” We’ll call him Bay. It wasn’t long after I met Bay (he belongs to some people I know) that I realized why he was a gift horse. Not only does Bay have a terrible limp (due to a leg injury) that crops up whenever he works too hard, he also has a bad habit of cribbing.
I realized one day that Bay takes a long time to eat anything and always slips his feed, so I looked into his mouth and instantly understood the proverb. Bay has no lower teeth. His lower teeth are worn down all the way to his gums. No wonder he couldn’t eat!
The idea behind the proverb, “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth” is that no one would give anything away unless it’s worthless. If you get a gift, just accept it at face value; don’t look at it took hard because you won’t like what you’ll see.
Well, God offers us a gift that’s far better than a gift horse. And you can look it in the mouth too, inspect it as closely as you like without finding any fault in it!
The gift that God offers us is the free gift of eternal life through the blood of His Son Jesus Christ.
Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
I heard it explained once this way: The gift of God is like a birthday present. What do you do to earn a birthday present? Absolutely nothing! You’ve lived another year. What did you have to do with that? The gift of God is like that – we have done absolutely nothing to earn it, we can do nothing to earn it, it’s free. He is offering it to us if we will but stretch out our hearts and take it!
Romans 3:23-24 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”
Freely. A gift.
And all we must do is: “… Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved…” (Acts 16:31)
See, a “gift horse” is no true gift at all. It’s somebody’s problem, something they don’t want to have to bother with any more.
My horse Sylvester was not a “gift horse,” he was a true gift! And even more so, the salvation God offers us is a true gift if we will but accept it.
~ A Servant of the King