The Upper Room devotional reflection for Friday, February 10, 2023, was written by Marsha Howard of Texas.
1 You were dead through the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once lived, following the course of this world, following the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work among those who are disobedient. 3 All of us once lived among them in the passions of our flesh, following the desires of flesh and senses, and we were by nature children of wrath, like everyone else. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us 5 even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ — by grace you have been saved — 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God — 9 not the result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.
Ephesians 2:1-10 NRSV
The pink clutch with plastic embossed flowers was one of the prettiest things my eight-year-old eyes had ever seen. The salesclerk told me it cost one dollar, so I decided to work until I could buy it. I did jobs at home and for neighbors until I finally had enough money. At the checkout counter, the clerk said, “That will be one dollar and ten cents.” I asked her why it cost an extra ten cents, and she explained that it was tax. I didn’t have enough money. As I turned around to put the purse back, a man standing behind me placed change on the counter. “I’ll pay the ten cents for her,” he said. I looked up and thanked him for this gift.
I cherished the purse for years, and every time I think of it, I also think of the man who paid the tax for me. Much like I worked to earn money for the purse, we often try to do everything God asks in an effort to obtain salvation for ourselves. But it takes the gift of God’s grace and forgiveness for us to receive salvation. Our works will always come up short, but Jesus has paid the full price for us and our salvation.
Marsha’s reflection reminds us of the wonderful gift of salvation Christ has given us. Christ stepped into human form to rebuild a bridge connecting us to our loving God. I invite you to reread Marsha’s devotion and consider the ways you can partner with Christ to be a bridge for others.
Dear God, help us realize that there is nothing we can do to buy or earn salvation. Thank you for making it available to us as a gift. Amen.
- Marsha Howard