Word for the Way: Gift

gift 2

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God – not the result of works, so that no one may boast.” – Ephesians 2:8-9

My daughter’s favorite phrase right now is, “who gave this to me?” She’ll hold up a toy or a book or a shirt and ask “who gave this to me?” She seems to get on an almost intuitive level that all the things she has are gifts, not the result of anything that she has earned or worked for.

It’s interesting how children really get what we adults so easily forget. We’re convinced that things belong to us. I worked hard for this; I’ve earned this; it’s mine. Now don’t get me wrong, my daughter says more than her fair share of “it’s mine” and “no you can’t have it!” But I have this sneaky suspicion that it’s not her default position. When I’m honest with myself her less than exemplary behavior is something learned, from me! Jesus did say that we are to become like little children (Matthew 18:3). Children get this whole God thing, they understand concepts like trust and faith and grace and gift far better than we can. However, we adults are quick to scold them we they display a ready ability to learn and repeat the lessons of selfishness and misbehavior we’ve taught them. Be as little children said Jesus; not the childishness of adulthood that we pass off as maturity.

“Who gave this to me?” It’s a wonderful question. What if we asked this question each day? We wake up in the morning and ask with our first words, who gave this to me? We sit down to a meal and wonder aloud, who gave this to me? We see our friends and family, go to work, enjoy a sunset or anything really and exclaim, who gave this to me? I wonder what life would be like if that became our childlike default question.
Who gave this to me? It’s a grace filled question. Now grace is the one and only distinctive that we Christians have. It teaches us that all that we have, from the air that we breath to the people that we meet to the roof over our heads, from the gas in our cars to the food that we eat – even the jobs that we work; all of it and more is an expression of the pure and undeserved, never failing, always present, amazing Grace of the Lord God Almighty. But it doesn’t stop just there; God’s amazing Grace continues not just in the ordinary things of everyday life but also in the most extraordinary aspect of our lives, the saving, forgiving, life giving work of Jesus’ life death and resurrection for us. In Jesus you have all those things and more and, as St. Paul says in our text from Ephesians it’s not the result of you being a fantastic and or extraordinary person though you may well be those things and more. God’s Grace for you, be it ordinary or extraordinary is not now, ever has been, nor never will be the result of anything you’ve done or not done, it’s not dependent on your being a good person nor is it restricted to you if you’re a horrible one. It is there for you, for no other reason than that God wants you to have it. Who gave this to me? God did as a gift.

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