Check your Email! You’ve Just Won a Prize!

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We have all gotten them at some time either by snail mail or email or maybe even now on our phones. You know those wonderful messages that says, “You have just won a gift from us. It’s free no obligation. No purchase necessary. It’s yours for the taking.” I have actually been crazy enough to believe maybe I have won something. So I go and check it out just to find the item is free, but then I have to pay shipping and handling fees. Sometimes those fees are outrageous. We all want to believe we can get something for nothing. As the saying goes. “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” Or as my mother used to say, “don’t believe everything you read.”

We all want to get something and not pay for it. We all want to win that special prize without having to pay a dime, but that’s not the way life works out for most of us. In life everything costs something right? Or does it?

There is at least one thing that does not cost us a dime. That is a relationship with God. It is a free gift given to us without any cost all we have to do is accept him and the gift he offers. Too many times we think it sounds too good to be true, but it is true. We are so skeptical anymore of everything; we think there must be a catch. With God there is no catch. It is ours for the taking.

I have in the past been given a gift for no reason. It wasn’t my birthday, it’s wasn’t Mother’s Day or even a holiday. It was a “just because” gift. I felt uneasy taking the gift. I didn’t think I had done anything to deserve it. I kept wondering what I needed to do to accept this gift. I have felt obligated to buy a gift in return, but that’s not what the giver wanted from me. All they wanted was for me to accept the gift and enjoy it.

That’s the way it is with God. He gives us the gift of grace, the gift of his love, and the gift of his presence but we wonder what we have to do in order to accept these gifts. Sometimes we accept the gifts and then work hard in church or elsewhere trying to earn what he has give us freely.

Billy Graham said it best,“One of the Bible’s greatest truths is that God offers us our salvation as a free gift. It isn’t something we can buy, nor is it something we can earn by our own good works. The Bible puts it this way: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
But the Bible also tells us two important truths about God’s gift of salvation. First, it tells us that it is a costly gift. Think of it this way. Suppose you wanted to express your love for someone by giving them a very fine gift. What would you have to do? Well, you’d first have to go to the store and buy it—and the finer the gift, the more it would cost you. To your friend, it’s a free gift, but it wasn’t free on your part.
The same is true with God’s gift of salvation. To us it’s free, but it cost God the life of His Son. The reason is because on the cross Jesus Christ became the final sacrifice for our sins. He paid for our salvation with His blood.
But the Bible also tells us a second truth: Like any other gift, God’s gift of salvation doesn’t become ours until we accept it. Just as we can refuse the gift someone offers us, so we can refuse God’s gift of salvation. But why would we? Don’t let this happen to you, but by faith reach out and accept Christ into your life today.”

Often times when we refuse to accept a free gift we offend the giver. They may have thought long and hard about getting you this gift. I know when I give a gift to a friend I don’t take it lightly. It has to be just the right gift. It has to be perfect just for them. I look hard and long for just the right gift to give. God has given us the perfect gift to give to our friends. It is the perfect gift for them. We no longer have to hunt, labor and worry whether it’s the perfect gift. We can have the assurance it is.

What better time then Lent and Easter to give the gift God has given to us. Now is the time to give the gift of God’s love, mercy and forgiveness to that special friend. Now is the time to share all the gifts God has given to us with those who need a “just because gift”.

God has given us free gifts; our obligation is to pass them on and to share with others. What will you do with God’s free gift? Will you hoard it or will you share it?

Dear Lord, I don’t always accept free gifts easy. I wonder if there are ulterior motives behind the gifts. I wonder what I did to get this gift. I often work hard on the relationship with the giver to try and earn this gift. You have given us the gift of your Son. You have offered us grace, acceptance and love. Yet, we don’t always grab it and open it. We linger wondering if it’s really free. We sadden you when we don’t readily accept your gift. When we do accept it we hoard it not sharing the greatest gift of all with others. Teach me not to hoard, but to share especially during this season of Lent and Easter. Open the doors and pave my way to those who need to hear the good news. Help me as I share the gift you have given to me. Thank you Lord for the gift of your Son who came and offered me grace. Amen Ceh

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