For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.–Ephesians 2:8
One Easter Sunday, a local pastor used the following illustration to demonstrate the free gift of God’s grace: he called a bright-eyed, eager three-year-old girl with deep dimples and tight, curly hair to the platform. He then announced that she would receive the first egg of the annual Easter egg hunt. The audience cheered as anticipation of the egg hunt grew.
The pastor then asked the girl what she did to deserve the first egg of the hunt. She began to chatter into the microphone about all kinds of things as a smile grew on the pastor’s face. Then, the pastor explained to her that she did nothing to receive this egg. It was a gift. He proceeded to give her a new Easter basket full of candy and toys. Once more, the crowd cheered with excitement. The pastor asked the eager little girl what she had done to receive the Easter basket and again she began to chatter into the microphone. The crowd was beginning to pick up on the message.
Again, the Pastor told the girl that she did nothing to receive the Easter basket. As if that were not enough, the pastor looked at a brand-new bicycle that was to be given away to one fortunate boy or girl and told her there was one more gift he had for her. As another volunteer brought the shiny new bicycle to her, the audience went wild. The pastor informed the little girl that this bicycle was hers. The audience cheered with delight as the little girl’s face shone with unmistakable joy. For the third time, the pastor questioned the girl about what she had done do to receive this brand-new, shiny bicycle. Before she could begin chattering gleefully into the microphone, the pastor whispered into her ear. She looked at him and then, into the microphone, she timidly said the word “nothing.” Everyone cheered and the egg hunt began.
Grace…God’s unmerited favor toward us. It is a free gift, unearned, undeserved and waiting to be received. The apostle Paul tells us in his letter to the church in Ephesus that salvation is a gift of God. We cannot earn it, work toward it and we certainly do not deserve it. It is simply a gift. And, as with any gift, we must choose to receive it. It sounds too easy and I suppose it is. That is part of the mystery of grace. Today, ask yourself, “Have I accepted the gift of God’s grace or am I working to receive his love and acceptance?” Just like a package that is beautifully wrapped with your name on it, grace is extended to you today — not because you deserve it, but because God loves you. Will you accept the gift?
Today, take some time to thank God for His gift of grace. Allow that grace to pour over you like a gentle rain.
Romans 3:23-24; John 1:16; Acts 15:11