Sunday, July 24, 2011

Forgotten gift

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith . . . it is the gift of God.  – Ephesians 2:8 (NIV)
I sat in the manager’s office as he perused my application for a line of credit. I was 20 years old, had just graduated from college, and moved to Punxsutawney, where I’d gotten my first job. After a couple months of loneliness—I knew no one in the area, and my social life was zilch—I decided it was time to purchase a television. So I went to Grant’s department store in town, chose one I liked, and applied for a line of credit.
That’s where I ran into trouble. I had no credit history. Oh, I was making payments on my car—a '67 Camaro Rally Sport—but my mother had signed the loan papers, so the loan was in her name, as was the credit for my punctual payments. I wouldn’t ask her to sign for me on this. After all, I was on my own now, right?
The manager was doing his best to help me.
“You don’t have any credit cards?” he asked.
I started to shake my head when I remembered—my dad, months before his death, had given me a Texaco credit card. “You might need this sometime,” he’d said. I put it in my wallet and forgot about it. Now I pulled it out and handed it to the manager.
“I’ve never used it, though.”
His face erupted into a huge grin. “It doesn’t matter. It’s in your name. It’ll work.”
I got my TV.
Sometimes we receive a gift we don’t think we need. We put it away for “someday” or recycle it—give it to someone who might use it. In the case of the forgotten credit card, I never planned to use it. But my father knew someday I might have an emergency and he wouldn’t be around. Without a lecture (Mom would have given me one), he quietly slipped me something I didn’t know at the time I would need.
My Father in heaven is the same. He, too, knows what I need before I ask (Matthew 6:8). Like salvation. Nearly two thousand years before I was born, He sent His Son to pay the penalty for my sins—and the sins of everyone who ever lived. He did this so I could spend eternity with Him. Salvation—being saved from the penalty of my sin, from the power of sin, and someday from the presence of sin—is a gift. I cannot earn it.
But how many do with the gift of salvation what I did with that credit card—put it away for someday and forget about it?
But someday always comes. Someday, in fact, is today (2 Corinthians 6:2).
Have you used the gift God has given you?
Thank You, Father, for patiently waiting for me to realize that I needed You—and the salvation You give through Your Son Jesus Christ. Amen.

Special-Tea: Acts 16:25-31; Ephesians 2:8-9
Extra “Tea”:  Romans 3:23-24; Romans 6:23; John 3:16; John 3:36; John 14:6; 1 John 5:11-12

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