Ephesians 2:8-10 (VOICE) 8-9 For it’s by God’s grace that you have been saved. You receive it through faith. It was not our plan or our effort. It is God’s gift, pure and simple. You didn’t earn it, not one of us did, so don’t go around bragging that you must have done something amazing. 10 For we are the product of His hand, heaven’s poetry etched on lives, created in the Anointed, Jesus, to accomplish the good works God arranged long ago.
What a wonderful message for all of us to hear and know this Friday as we head into
this long weekend, and our community takes the first steps into reopening. We, all of us, have
received a gift from God.
As long as I can remember, whether it a birthday or Christmas, or whenever, anytime I
receive presents, I try and do this little judgement in my mind. I look at all the wrapped
presents, I try to guess which one is going to be the best or most exciting. I try and figure out
which wrapped gift contains the present I had been hoping for or which one will be the one I
enjoy the most.
Once I do that, I then sort of order them and I open the presents in order of ‘least
exciting’ to ‘most exciting’ or best. As a child that usually meant that I saved the biggest
present for last. As I have gotten older, I have become a little more sophisticated (ha!) and
really try to figure out what could be what and which present has the highest likelihood of
being something great.
Socks and clothes tend to get opened first. Packages that make what’s inside obvious
usually get opened early as well – unless it’s hinting at the present that I really want. At
Christmas time, when our family takes turns opening one gift at a time, I will rethink my order
after every ‘round’, trying to maximize the enjoyment and suspense.
This gift that Ephesians is telling us God has for us, make no mistake, it would be the last
one to open. It is the best gift we could hope for or imagine. It might not be something we
knew we wanted or needed, but there can be no better gift for us than what God is gifting us.
The gift is so good that it is more than just a single present as well. The first gift is that
we are ‘the product of His hand, heaven’s poetry etched on lives, created in the Anointed, Jesus, to accomplish the good works God arranged long ago’. I love that image, ‘heaven’s poetry etched on our lives’ – that is how God views us, as his beautiful, beloved creation. The second part of this gift is that we were created to be part of what God is doing in the world. You and I were designed – specially made just for the purpose of being part of the good and wonderful things God has planned for the world.
Finally, the best gift of all, we have been saved – our lives are redeemed, and we are
counted among the beloved and precious children of God. This gift, we are told ‘was not our
plan or our effort. It is God’s gift, pure and simple. You didn’t earn it, not one of us did’. We
have received this gift not because we made it to the ‘good list’ (we are more deserving of coal, if we are honest), it isn’t because we have been on our best behavior and have finally met the requirements.
Scripture is clear – ‘You didn’t earn it, not one of us did.’ None of us earned it because
none of us could. This gift is one that we could never give ourselves, never earn ourselves,
never attain any other way except by the grace, goodness, and love of God. Best. Gift. Ever.
Sharing God’s Love,
Prayer: Lord, thank you for being the giver of good and great gifts. Help us be thankful and help us be humble, realizing that we didn’t earn your grace. Lead us to live in a way that shares your amazing grace with those around us. Amen.