Our Lenten Devotion for Sunday, March 27, comes to us from Steadfast Love which features reflections and prayers by Ed Arle and Gil Duchow with inspiration from the works of Henri J.M. Nouwen.
8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV
“Showered with Love”
Perhaps the challenge of the gospel lies precisely in the invitation to accept a gift for which we can give nothing in return. For the gift is the life breath of God, the Spirit poured out on us through Jesus Christ. This life breath frees us from fear and gives us new room to live.
(from With Open Hands by Henri J.M. Nouwen, page 22-23Henri)
I can’t accept something so valuable,” he said. “I could never pay you back. “But I want you to have it,” she replied. “It’s a gift.” When someone wants to give us a treasured gift, we may feel as if we owe them something in return. But if it’s truly a gift, it should simply be received with gratitude. That’s how God wants us to receive the gift of his amazing, saving grace – with heartfelt gratitude. We haven’t in any way earned it or deserved it. The challenge of the gospel lies in gratefully accepting God’s priceless gifts, for which we can give nothing in return except our praise and thanksgiving. We know we don’t deserve it. But that’s precisely what God’s grace is – an undeserved gift of love from God’s heart to your heart. So receive it with joy and thanksgiving. It’s a gift!
Certainly, God’s grace is a freely given gift which we can’t earn or repay. We can only be grateful. Still, that grace reminds us that we are Blessed Children of God, who have been empowered by that very grace to be a blessing for others. I invite you think about ways that you have experienced God’s freely given grace? And having been blessed by that grace, were you empowered to bless others?
Gracious God, I don’t deserve any of your gifts and blessings that you shower on me. Help me to use them each day for your glory and service. Amen.