An Undeserved Gift

gift

You are saved by God’s grace because of your faith. This salvation is God’s gift. It’s not something you possessed. It’s not something you did that you can be proud of (Ephesians 2:8-9 Common English Bible).

I know, I know. Today is Halloween and here I am talking about Christmas and gifts and such. It would be the easy thing to do if I were just to sit back and wait for Thanksgiving to arrive and then when I see Santa pass by on the Thanksgiving day parade to run out and buy, buy, buy. I could do that but then I probably wouldn’t put much thought into what I was giving to the people I say I care about so much.

This year I have been thinking. I’ve actually been thinking for a couple of months now. What can I do for this person who is so important to me? What gift can I give that communicates just what this person means to me.

Most of the time I we don’t think about a gift in terms of what someone deserves unless we are talking about a Divine gift, a gift like God’s grace. Then we always couch it in terms of something that is undeserved. Most all of us recognize there are no gifts we receive from God that we can truly say we deserve.

As I have been thinking about Christmas gifts for my friends and family the thought occurred to me, there are no gifts I receive from others that I truly deserve. When I receive a gift from someone, whether it be God or one of my friends, the gift given is, at least in part, giving of themselves. What have I ever done to “deserve” a part of another person, much less a part of God.

God gives me the free gift of grace. It is completely undeserved. I may be a faithful disciple, but because I a human I have also fallen well short of what God wants me to be. No matter what I do, there will always be people who are more deserving than me. Yet, the same is also true for them. We humans always, always, always fall short.

But, God loves us anyway and God gives us the free, undeserved gift of grace. Salvation through faith Paul calls it in our lesson above. Without grace I have no salvation. Without grace I have nothing. Without grace I am nothing.

And, it isn’t about who I am or what I have. Without the grace of God nothing else matters. But, the good news is, because of salvation through faith, I do have something, though it isn’t really mine. It belongs to God. That free gift of grace does say I am something and that I am important. I am something and I am important because God says I am. God says I am worth this gift, but it isn’t from my own doing, but from God’s doing.

Whether we believe or not, we are nothing without grace. We become something with grace because that grace brings us salvation, but only if we believe. And, it isn’t from our doing, it isn’t from anything we are or hope to be. It comes by the free, undeserved gift of God’s grace. And, that means, the only way I can brag is to say, “I couldn’t do it for myself but look what God did for me.”

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Grace and Peace,
Keith

Copyright 2016, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Author:

Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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