When I was about 8 years old, my parents sat me down and informed me that they were giving me a monthly allowance. I did not ask for the allowance and was not even expecting this gesture. Naturally, I was overjoyed. Then, they said something quite unexpected.
“We are giving you this allowance because we feel it is time you have some spending money and you learn to budget. We are also not asking you to do anything to earn this.”
“I don’t understand,” I stammered. “You mean I don’t have to do my chores any longer?”
My parents smiled. “No, you still have to do your chores. But we wanted to make you understand your allowance is not dependent upon whether you did your chores or not. Chores are your responsibility and you should do them, but not because we are paying you.”
Wow! A lot of trust went into that statement! At first I thought, “Great!” I’ll still get an allowance, whether I do my chores or not. Maybe I wouldn’t even have to do my chores as carefully as I should since I would be paid regardless of the quality or completeness of the job. For a few days, I relished this new freedom and did not work as hard as I usually did on my chores. But after a while, I felt guilty. My parents trusted me with this responsibility because they loved me and wanted me to understand that their blessings were not something to be earned, only freely given. My attitude quickly changed and I did my chores with a gladness in my heart from a sense of gratitude for what my parents did for me.
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.
Years later, I fondly remember this childhood lesson. It pointed the way for me to understand the riches of God’s mercy toward me. Salvation is not a gift that is earned by works, it is freely given to us by a merciful and loving God, that whosoever believes in His Son, Jesus Christ, as Lord and Savior, will be saved.
If you are a believer, you live the Christian life out of gratitude for what God has done for you, not because of an obligation or an attempt to earn salvation.
The unsearchable riches of God’s love for us!
On this Christmas, remember and reflect upon what God has done for us. Nearly 2000 years ago, God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, that the world might be saved through Him.