Recently I was talking with a friend about what's better: having money or having friends that have money. I'm lucky enough to be part of the second group. I have friends who have awesome stuff that they share with me. From a meal to a double stroller, to a weekend at the lakehouse, these gifts are awesome. They are not even things that I desperately need. But they are things that make life more pleasant. And They are given in plenty. They are given in love. I certainly did not befriend these people so I could get stuff. It's just a bonus of my natural friendship with them. I think those gifts are more awesome than buying these special treats myself. It seems like when I work hard for something (even in my job), I still complain that I didn't get paid enough for the effort put in. How many times have I said to myself at work, "They do not pay me enough for this nonsense. "
As Americans, we believe that when we put in a lot of effort, we DESERVE to be compensated. But what about when you get something for nothing? That's an awesome, unexpected, unearned gift. Maybe you are one of those people who hates getting gifts because you feel like to have to reciprocate. There are times that you don't have to or can't reciprocate. Babies don't aren't forced to smile in compensation being fed. I don't have to beg my 4 year old for a hug when I get bck from work. She runs o the door every time. I can't always compensate others for the gifts that they give me, but I can give them a listening ear, the gift of time, or a prayer for their family. I give freely of those things, because it's what I have a lot of. We all have different gifts to give and we want to receive different gifts from others. Not all of those gifts can be found at the mall, or ebay or pinterest (SHOCKER! I thought everything could be found on Pinterest!)
It reminds me of the gift of God's salvation. What if God wanted us to work for our eternal life? Would we ever feel like we did enough? Or would we feel like we should get even more in return for the effort that we put in? Would we feel like we have to give back?
Do we have to give back our time, our money, our thoughts, our prayers? I don't think so. God's gift cannot be earned. He does not demand anything in return. I don't HAVE to give offering or pay tithe. I do not HAVE to teach sabbath school or keep the sabbath faithfully. I don't HAVE TO log in 7 hours of prayer or quiet time each week to feel like it was worth His effort. God loves us and all He wants is for us to accept it. It's a special, unexpected, unearned, nonreciprocal gift, and it's worth billions.