(Republished with permission from Press Service International, for Christian Today Australia)
A gift is given joyfully, with no expectation of repayment.
This year, we have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of love upon our baby girl, and by the generosity of those wanting to bless our family. As I think about all the hand-me downs, encouragement and gifts we have received, I am struck by the realisation that we cannot “pay back” those who have blessed us. Yet we are thankful for everything, and want people to know how much we appreciate them.
This makes me think about the unrepayable gift we have been given by our Father God; His love freely given, His grace undeserved.
. . .
To us, from God
“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God…” (1 John chapter 3, verse 1)
We don’t deserve it, but God gives us grace and mercy. We reject Him, and yet He keeps on loving us. God lavishes His love on us, gives us every good gift and forgives us time and time again. What do we have that could repay the Author of Life, Creator of the World?
Our time would not be long enough to serve the King of Ages;
Our possessions not valuable enough to give the Giver of Good Gifts,
Our good works tainted compared to the Holy One,
Our words unable to capture the Majesty of God.
Nothing we have here on earth can repay God from whom all things find their beginning.
. . .
To God, from us
We cannot “pay back” what God has given us, but we can accept what He gives wholeheartedly and give Him praise.
Colossians tells us this:
“For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of the cross.” (Colossians chapter 1, verses 19-20)
Knowing this, every act done out of a heart that loves God is something He treasures.
He values our time as we spend it in His presence,
listening to His voice and worshipping Him.
He values our possessions,
stewarded wisely to build up His kingdom and minister to those in need.
He values our good works,
done in demonstration of faith and testimony to Him.
He values our words that give Him praise,
and are seasoned with grace towards others.
. . .
What God wants: relationship
God cares about relationship. He wants us to know Him and spend time with Him. Relationship with God is not about ticking boxes or following rules. It is personal; a daily desire, and a decision that takes discipline. It travels through emotions, and through life’s ups and downs, but it has strong roots in knowing God’s love.
Job suffered great pain and loss. Yet, when God spoke of His majesty, Job heard and saw it. Job had revelation of God’s power and holiness, and he also had revelation of God’s mercy and approachability. Known as a righteous man, even Job discovered more about God as he spoke with Him.
“I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear,
But now my eye sees You.”
(Job chapter 42, verse 5)
We also see the example of Israel so many times in the Bible. Through the prophets, God declares a faithful and tender love for them. His message and desire is clear: Come back to Me, My people. Let me heal, restore and love you.
“The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying:
‘Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love;
Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.'”
“I drew them with gentle cords,
With bands of love,
And I was to them as those who take the yoke from their neck.
I stooped and fed them.”
. . .
Unrepayable; the grace and life God has given us.
Ready to receive; the love, testimony, passion and purpose God offers us.
Thanksgiving; the praise and worship we can return in honour of God.
Relationship; the goal of life that is to love God and be loved by Him.
How do we respond to the overwhelming love, grace and goodness that God lavishes upon us? He desires relationship, so let us love Him with all our heart, mind and soul!
“When You said, ‘Seek My face,’
My heart said to You, ‘Your face, Lord, I will seek.'”
(Psalm chapter 27, verse 8)