God’s gift of salvation is exactly that; a gift. There is no way to earn it, no merit or points system to achieve – it is, in the purest sense of the word, a gift. One of the analogies that I have often heard is that salvation is like a gift, wrapped up in a pretty bow and sitting just waiting for you to open it. All you have to do is receive the gift.
Last year, my then three-year-old son really wanted a “spotted puppy” for Christmas. There were two reasons why bringing a live Dalmatian into the house was not going to happen. The first is my family is not ready for a dog; only one thing that needs to be potty trained at a time! The second is that Dalmatians are not good family pets, especially with young children. As we were out shopping, my wife came across a toy Dalmatian, it even made noises when you squeezed it! We were so excited to give it to him. When it was time to open it, this “perfect” gift was not met with the enthusiasm we had hoped. Instead my son’s reaction was indifferent. In fact, the toy we thought would be his favourite barely got touched.
When I give a gift, I want it to be something special to the recipient. Sure, it is nice to give something of value, but the cost is secondary to the joy or usefulness of the gift. God’s gift of salvation, though completely free and with no strings attached, is meant to be used. Not for ourselves, but for others.
How do we use this gift? We live our lives with the focus on others! We want them to know we have received such a wonderful gift that they want to receive it, too. We do this by serving others, treating them as we would want to be treated and sacrificing, not for the recognition but for the joy it brings others. My guess is most of you reading this are in fact doing things to share this gift with others, and for that, I want to encourage you to keep doing it. The recognition is not gained in this lifetime, but the reward with be of eternal benefit.
For those of you who aren’t, or perhaps not as much as you should be, I want to encourage you as well. I want to encourage you to do something meant for God’s glory that others will see God through you. Don’t do it to earn anything, earthly recognition and rewards are fleeting at best. You have been given a gift worth much more than that. God gave us a gift and nothing brings Him more joy than watching His children share it with the world.