Lenten Devotional, 3/21/2012


Wednesday, March 21

For it is by free grace (God's unmerited favor) that you are saved  (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ's salvation) through [your] faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [of your own doing, it came not through your own striving], but it is the gift of God. -- Ephesians 2:8 Amplified Bible (AMP)

I am sitting in my office looking at two paintings given to me by my aunt, Pat Hines. Both paintings depict churches with people heading toward worship. The settings are filled with beautiful trees, dirt roads, and people in simpler, older times. The paintings are beautifully done by a very talented artist. They came into my possession as gifts.

I never saw the paintings until they were given to me. It is not that I asked for them. It is not that I offered to buy them from her. And I can think of nothing that I have done for my aunt that would trigger this generous gift. The reality is that she chose to give them to me because she chose to give them to me. And that is grace.

We so often claim to be a people of grace, but our conversations are filled with must, should, and ought. We lay burdens upon ourselves in order to achieve grace. And then we are really good about laying burdens upon others before we deem them worthy of God's grace. But the text reminds us that grace is God's unmerited favor. Salvation is the gift of God.

I invite you to just sit in the sunshine of God's grace. Then look around and see who might need some light in their lives? -- Mike Hicks

Prayer: Lord, thank you for choosing to give your best to me just because. Amen

Mike Hicks is the District Superintendent of the Hattiesburg District.