God’s Gracious Gifts

IMG_2554“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”  Ephesians 2:8-10

At the end of our life what will we have to boast in? May our boast be in the amazing saving work of Christ from the moment of our birth to till our last breath.  Coming up on 33 years ago, my lovely young mom celebrated her 20th birthday in a hospital room receiving a gift that at that moment may not have seemed like a bonus as she labored in pain and birthed me into this world.  As I contemplated the celebrations we will enjoy together now and the receiving of gifts on this occasion.  I think to myself, “I don’t do anything to earn birthday gifts, I get them simply for being.”  I was struck my how we are celebrated for something that really is not of our own doing.  God is the one who deserves all the praise for bringing us into this world.  Every year that we are granted to live, we can celebrate and thank God for allowing us more time on this earth.  The truth is that none of us is guaranteed another day.  God has all our days numbered before we are even given one (Ps 139:16.) Our life and health are a stewardship; but, what’s more, they are gifts from God.  This reality may help us live each day with a sense of seeking to make each day count in light of eternity.

The greatest gift of all is the one of salvation.   We can do nothing to earn it—that is why it’s a gift.  It is available to all for free.  Our creator God made us in His image and gave us everything in the Garden of Eden.  When Adam & Eve sinned, the entire human race fell into the cruse of sin and death.  Thus, we are born with a sinful and selfish bent.  However, God being rich in love and mercy made a way for us to be forgiven and made anew.  He sent His only son into this world of suffering and pain to pour on him the wrath that was reserved for us.  Jesus being God all-power overcame the grave and rose on the third day; so all who place their faith on him could be saved.  Faith is a gift yet it asks to be reciprocated.  “Faith is simply breathing the breath that God’s grace supplies.  Yet, the paradox is that we must exercise it and bear the responsibility if we do not.” (MacArthur)   If we place our faith in Christ, turn away from our sin and live for him, this life will no longer be lived for ourselves nor by our own strength.   With God though, we will accomplish more with a short life consecrated to him than a thousand years without him.

What do we want to be remembered for on the day of our death? Memorial services are sobering, because they remind us of the frailty of our lives.  Yet, they also impress upon us the need to live this life for a purpose higher than ourselves as we see what will be our end sooner or later.  In Ecclesiastes 7:1, God says that the day of our death is better than the day of our birth.  When we are born we don’t have many experiences, or life lived yet; we have no story to tell.  The day of our death is bright if we anticipate an eternal future with God and have a story to tell about Christ’s redemption that proclaims His glory.  Our name and legacy should live on to tell of God’s wonderful faithfulness and His saving and perfecting work.  We Hope to have left an imprint on this world and gone on to live for eternity with a sense of awe at what our amazing Savior has done!