13 Now there was no food in all the land, because the famine was very severe, so that the land of Egypt and the land of Canaan languished because of the famine. 14 Joseph gathered all the money that was found in the land of Egypt and in the land of Canaan for the grain which they bought, and Joseph brought the money into Pharaoh’s house. 15 When the money was all spent in the land of Egypt and in the land of Canaan, all the Egyptians came to Joseph and said, “Give us food, for why should we die in your presence? For our money is gone.” 16 Then Joseph said, “Give up your livestock, and I will give you food for your livestock, since your money is gone.” 17 So they brought their livestock to Joseph, and Joseph gave them food in exchange for the horses and the flocks and the herds and the donkeys; and he fed them with food in exchange for all their livestock that year. 18 When that year was ended, they came to him the next year and said to him, “We will not hide from my lord that our money is all spent, and the cattle are my lord’s. There is nothing left for my lord except our bodies and our lands. 19“Why should we die before your eyes, both we and our land? Buy us and our land for food, and we and our land will be slaves to Pharaoh. So give us seed, that we may live and not die, and that the land may not be desolate.”
Joseph could have just given the people food for free. After all, it came from them in the first place. However, he also knew that they would not value it as much, and perhaps squander it more easily, and then they might run out of food before the famine ended. So he made their livestock the property of Pharaoh, that they would not take it lightly and be wasteful. It’s easy to take something for granted when it doesn’t cost you much. Whether it just seems cheap because you’re rich, or whether you just get it for free, things have little value to us if they don’t cost us. Sometimes it costs someone else a great deal, and we need to be mindful of that. Our salvation is free (initially), but it cost Jesus a great deal. Don’t ever take that for granted.