March 24, 2019 - INSCRIPTIONS FROM THE HEART
The Gift of Faith
“Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving.” (Ephesians 2:8,9 The Message)
A couple of years ago one of the first American Girl doll stores opened in Calgary. My daughter, Sophie had seen these dolls before and constantly expressed her desire to me to own one. I would always reply, “You have to save, mommy and daddy would have to leave you to work to afford it!” Opening morning in Calgary, we woke up early and surprised Sophie by lining up for the grand opening inside a Chapters, we bought her one and she was very happy. She promised to take special care of her doll and play with her regularly. A few weeks had gone by, and I would get home to find Sophie’s doll lying on the stairs, in the living room, all over the place, and would remind Sophie ‘do you remember how much you wanted this doll?’ ‘Do you remember how you said you would take care of her?’ A few weeks after, the doll was no longer all over the place, instead it was largely untouched in the corner of Sophie’s room. Sophie it seemed was no longer excited for the doll she wanted so badly, however, this didn’t stop her from asking for more, even pointing to the $10 she had in her wallet…
Oftentimes in our Christian walk we want so badly to have something that we make all sorts of promises. God if I get this job, I promise to ______. God if this relationship works out, I will do ______. Or God I want this so badly, if I get ______ I’ll know you’re real. If you’re like Sophie, sometimes we even add how much we deserve it or can earn it. It can take a very sobering reminder, that our $10 is not enough. As Christians, we have two challenges: (1) using our gift of faith instead of having it collect dust in the corner, and (2) being grateful with the faith we have while asking God for more without the expectation that we’ve earned it.
In Ephesians, Paul reminds us to put our faith in the giver not the gift. Over the years, I have bought my children many toys, oftentimes knowing full well that they will end up in a corner, but I still enjoy giving them gifts because for me it communicates how much they mean to me, that I am willing to sacrifice for them to be happy. Secondly, Paul reminds us that none of us could ever save enough or work hard/well enough to earn gifts from God and this is a good thing. As my kids grow older, there will come a time when they longer need me to give them gifts. But this is not the way with God. God’s gifts are not the gifts of this world, there will never be a time when I can earn them or where I will not need them. I am thankful that God knows what I need even without asking or me knowing (Matthew 6:8), and that it is in his nature to desire to gift me with good gifts (James 1:17). But most of all, I am thankful to God for the gift of faith which allows me to know him.
- Pastor Tony Tira