Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Have you ever received an unexpected gift? One that you were totally surprised by? Perhaps you were filled with joy at the sight of an attractively wrapped package on your birthday or at Christmas... That, however, was an "expected" gift. Even though you are delighted, you are not completely surprised because of the occasion on which it was received. Come on, friend- I'm talking "Whoa! Where did that come from!" kind of gift.
Today I received a very unexpected gift from a very lovely lady that I have had the privilege to meet about five weeks ago. As I left for the church parking lot this morning she came running out after me with a simple white envelope embroidered with cheerful spring flowers alongside my name. The contents inside were for an upcoming event that she wanted me to be able to attend...just because.
So, of course, being the considerate, thankful and gracious individual that I am... I just stood there- looking confused and bewildered. I stammered and stumbled around my words of gratitude...trying to make sense of it all. 'Why is she giving me such an expensive and wonderful gift? I am just an acquaintance. She has never met my children or my husband. I have never invited her to my home or given her a ride in my car. We have merely sat at the same table a handful of times during our ladies fellowship over this past month. She just wants me to have this 'because'? No strings attached? Why do I deserve this gift?'
After talking for a few minutes, I gave her a big hug and thanked her for her kindness and generosity. I took the envelope in my hand and headed toward the van with the boys. I sat there for a few minutes and just held the tickets...pondering the prior conversation we had and the moments that led up to it. I began to think of all the ways that I could sneak cash into her pocket when she wasn't looking; send a large anonymous gift basket; wash and wax her car in the middle of the night... You get the idea.
I almost felt guilty about that wonderful gift! Please know now that I am an absolute hypocrite. *grin* I am not a good receiver of unexpected gifts from unexpected people! I love to dish it out and watch other people stammer and stumble, but I don't know what to do with it when the shoe is on the other foot!
A true gift is one given without the ability to earn or deserve it; no money was paid out...nothing transferred during the exchange...this was not a transaction. Simply one person giving out of sheer desire and will to do so, out of love for another. This brings a familiar analogy to mind about the reception of Christ's ultimate and free gift of salvation, yes?
Oh, by the grace of our dear Savior we were saved from our deserved penalty. Let us stammer and stumble as we think of this tremendous gift! Let us stand bewildered by the adoration He has shown us! Let us hold his Word in our hands and ponder the moment that we became one of His!
We were spared death by Christ giving His life in our place. This amazing gift should leave us in absolute awe as we consider the love it was given with! We can do nothing to earn it...we certainly don't deserve it...and there is no way we can ever pay Him back for it. And yet, he still gives...knowing all of that. As the celebration of his resurrection draws near, let us be mindful that we serve a living God that loves us...no strings attached.