Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?
For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things.
To Him be the glory forever! Amen.
An unexpected gift can be the most pleasant surprise. It can be as simple as a friend paying your dinner bill. Your response might be, 'You didn't have to do that!' Do you know what my lighthearted response is when someone says that to me? 'Of course I didn't have to do that; that's the whole point.' If I have to pay someone's bill, that's an obligation. If I don't have to, but freely want to, that's a gift. ...Christmas would feel a whole lot different if we were just giving and receiving a whole lot of have-to's!
Think of this in terms of the Christmas gift God has given the whole human race, the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ.
'You didn't have to do that' is a good response to God's gift, for pondering that truth gives us a glimpse into God's heart. No, He didn't have to give us the gift of His Son as our Savior from sin. "Who has ever given to God that God should repay him?" There's never been a time when any one of us 'covered God's bill' (a preposterous thought!) so that He might be moved to extend such a gift to us in return. Instead we ourselves have run up quite a bill with our sins against Him and against our fellow man. But God determined to cover this bill that we could never even begin to pay. More amazingly, He did it by giving the gift of His Son to pay the full price of this dreadful bill for us, even though it would cost Jesus His life. He didn't have to do this! But he wanted to. And He did. Freely. For us. So that you can know that you are forgiven fully.
(Yes, you can know that you are forgiven fully; that's why we speak of the mission of ForgivenFully as 'Sharing the "!" of God's forgiveness with you.')
But are you living life trying to give something to God such that He should repay you? That's probably a crude way of saying it; you probably don't think of it that way. But if you are trying to earn God's love, earn His forgiveness, earn a place in heaven, then yes, you are looking for repayment from God. What can you give God that He should repay you? - what obedience, what love, what devotion, what sacrifice, what prayers, what pilgrimage, what penance can you give Him that He should repay you?
A gift isn't given so that it can be repaid; if so, it's not really a gift, is it? In fact, if someone gives you a gift and you pull out your wallet or checkbook to pay that person back, well that's downright offensive, isn't it? A gift is given freely, in love. A gift is given simply to be received with rejoicing.
Please understand that this is the nature of God's gift to you. What you cannot earn with God, He freely gives you with the gift of His Son! This is what Christmas is all about. So rejoice and believe this good news! "To Him be the glory forever! Amen."
See how the blessings of Christmas extend throughout the year to fill your everyday life!
Follow "The ABC's of Christmas" series:
INTRO, A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W
Questions or Comments? CLICK HERE TO CONTACT DANIEL.
Christ Our Redeemer Lutheran Church
Daniel is the Staff Minister at Christ Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, El Paso TX.