"...he called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas. ‘Put this money to work,’ he said, ‘until I come back.’" (Luke 19:13)
This year is a gift. Do you believe it?
We often hear this said but the truth is it's much harder to live.
Go with me, though. What if you truly lived this mindset - How would that change your approach to each day? Your approach to your relationships? Your approach to your work? Your approach to yourself?
The power of a gift
A gift is something you did not earn nor merit and is the free and willful kindness of another demonstrated towards you.
Imagine a friend came to your door, unannounced, with this incredibly tasty looking home-made sourdough loaf. They've chosen to put time, effort and careful attention into baking this loaf in order to give it to...you! In short, they've chosen to value and recognize you and you had no notion of meriting this from them.
The master in the parable of Luke 19 does likewise. The Master chooses to entrust 10 servants with his money. He chooses to give them the gift of responsibility. He chooses to give them a generously broad set of instructions - simply to 'Put this money to work,' until he returned.
None of the servants are depicted as deserving what they received. The master is under no obligation to give his resources away. Instead, he freely and willfully bestows both resources and responsibility upon each servant with the purpose that they would be well supplied to do something creative and productive with what they were given.
God is likewise towards us - supplying us well with the good gifts of resources and responsibilities in order to see what we can creatively do with what we've been given!
"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." (James 1:17)
Take a moment right now: to think of the relationships you have been a part of at this point in your life; think of people that have included you in their world; think of learning and growth experiences you've had over your lifetime; think of your current living arrangements, and what you have got as opposed to what you haven't go; think of the church community you're a part of, and what possible relationships and opportunities to grow exist as potential within this community.
Extend that moment: by thinking about what your life would look like without all of the above.
Hopefully you quickly begin to see - the life you've lived, challenges and opportunities all, has been one big long gift that is not based upon your desserts and certainly not based upon your choices alone!
The power of being chosen
In a nutshell, you've been chosen.
Time and time again.
You've been chosen:
as someone worthy of purpose;
as someone worthy of life;
as someone worthy of attention;
as someone worthy of friendship;
as someone as worthy of companionship.
The list goes on.
Herein lies the key to living each day as a gift. When you realize that you would not be where you are today without the free and willful choices of God and others towards you, and that others have been under no obligation to make the choices they have, you are free to treat every moment, every person, and every opportunity before you each day as a gift in return.
Every day becomes a gift of grace and an opportunity for you to respond to with grace.
What this all produces within us is a growing knowing, deep within, that you are not justified by what you deserve, but by what His grace creates in your life.
I wonder if this is what Paul was getting at when he wrote:
"...all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus." (Romans 3:24)
The servants in the parable were free to serve their master - not in order to justify and prove themselves, but rather to put to work the grace that was given them.
Is it not true that we do our best work and experience the best moments in relationships when we're working out of life as a gift we've been given to share freely with those around us?
This year, I'm believing that God's grace will pop the pressure bubble around you.
This year, I'm believing we'll together learn to live every day as a gift of God's grace to us, in Christ Jesus.