“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” Ephesians 2:8 (NIV).
The giving of gifts is a big part of life no matter the country, culture, or language. But have you ever noticed that gift-giving comes more naturally for some persons than for others? Some people experience a bit of anxiety when they want to give a gift or when they feel they are to do so. That could be because of uncertainty; whether the person will like the gift or not. Or because they feel pressured to spend more than they can afford. Whatever the reason, some families resolve this tension around birthdays and holidays by merely agreeing not to exchange gifts, and that works for them for the most part.
You may find it interesting however that Ellen Langer, professor of psychology at Harvard University, commented on this phenomenon saying that we might be doing a disservice to others when we ban the giving of gifts. It can harm our connection with family and friends, and it cuts off that process of thinking about someone you care about in a way that puts yourself in their shoes to figure out what they might like. There’s also something significant that happens on the receiving end. When you find out that you are on someone else’s gift list, it tells you that you are important to them. So gift-giving has a positive impact on both the giver and the receiver.
According to the Bible, we are all sinners because we have all broken God’s law; we need forgiveness. We all need God’s grace. Some people work hard at trying to earn God’s grace but listen to what Ephesians 2:8–9 says. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—9 not by works, so that no one can boast. Isn’t it wonderful that grace, the thing we need the most, is made available to us, by God, as a GIFT? I love that it emphasizes that not only is it a gift, but it also does not come by works, just in case there was any doubt. That means that anyone can be eligible for God’s grace.
So how do we receive it? Well, the verse says that it comes through faith, which of course involves the element of belief. Now how do you receive a gift? Well, you accept it, the faith part comes in because you don’t always receive immediate evidence to say that you’ve got it. You believe you’ve got it, and that’s how you begin your journey with our God of grace.
Prayer: Dear Jesus, thank you for making your grace available to me as a gift. I choose to accept it today. Amen.
By: Pastor Andrew Campbell