Published January 29, 2013
Paul had two computers at home which were old and difficult to use. One computer was a hand-me-down from our older son and the other was a hand-me-down from our younger son. The one computer, the one Paul used the most and was actually the newer of the two, took half-an-hour to boot up fully.
Paul would start the computer and then leave to do something for fifteen minutes. I got tired of listening to his frustration when after 15 minutes, he would find the computer still booting and have to leave for another 15 minutes before he could actually begin to use the computer.
So our two sons and I got Paul a new Dell computer for Christmas. It would not only boot up, but would actually work. He really likes it.
Let's imagine that when we gave the gift to Paul, he expressed his delight in the computer. It was just what he wanted. Then suppose he asked what he owed us.
We'd explain to him that it was a gift. He didn't owe us anything.
He'd say again how wonderful the gift was and follow that with, "Would it be ok if I write you a check?"
Somehow, that would take all the joy away from giving the gift. Somehow, that wanting to pay for a gift would cheapen it. It was, after all, a gift.
God has given us a wonderful gift. God gave Jesus Christ His Son. He gave the gift of salvation. He gave the gift of mercy and grace. He gave.
We accept the gift, but do we degrade it by wanting to pay. When I write a check for my tithe, do I think about whether it is enough to pay for God's gift? When I give a Subway meal to a homeless man, do I wonder if this will pay for the gift? When I volunteer to lead worship at my church, deep inside am I asking if this will pay for the gift? Whether or not I actually say it, is my motive for my actions really trying to do enough and give enough to earn His gift?
Doing what God has asked us to do is great. It's right. But, it can never be enough to earn God's grace and mercy and salvation. That is a gift. Believe His promises. Just accept His gift and be thankful.
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