Volume 32 Number 5

God’s Free Gift

Many parents agree that when our children receive something as a gift from us, they often don’t take care of it the same way as the things they work for and “earn.” Parents often prefer to have their children “earn” what they get, so they can learn the value of it and appreciate it more. After all, you have a tendency to place a higher value on something you have worked hard for.

I have to wonder, is that what the problem is with our salvation? The Bible clearly tells us that eternal life is a “free gift” from God (Rom 6:23). The only wage we are capable of earning is death. Is this why some people view their salvation somewhat flippantly and maintain it in a haphazard way if at all? It almost makes me want to say that our salvation should be something we “earn” for ourselves. If this were the case, perhaps more people would place a higher value on their Christianity. Perhaps it would occupy more of their life.

But the problem is that we do no earn it or merit it. Jesus earned it for us at the cross, brought it home (so to speak), and said, “Here child, I want to give you this gift.” And what do we do? Sometimes we blow it off. Just like the child who doesn’t appreciate the new car he didn’t work for, we forget to “tune it up,” or to “change the oil.” We don’t maintain the gift, and it begins to fall apart. It seems to be doomed because it is a “gift.” What can be done? After all, that is the nature of a gift.

But you know, the problem is not that it is a gift. The problem arises when we don’t invest anything into the gift. When you make an investment in something (in this case, someone), you tend to value and care for it.  If you think of salvation in terms of relationship rather than an inanimate object, the whole perspective on it being a “gift” changes. For instance, I did not “earn” my wife’s love. She has chosen to give it to me. I have not always been lovable, but she loves me anyway. I value and cherish her. It would not be that way if I had not invested myself in our relationship. I have invested my emotions, time, money, aspirations, goals, vision, and my very heart into this woman. No, I didn’t “earn” our marriage. However, I have invested a great deal into it. No wonder Paul uses the marriage analogy to refer to our relationship with Christ (Eph 5:21-33)!

Maybe the problem is not that salvation is given as a gift. Maybe the problem is I don’t invest enough into it. Whether it is taking up my cross daily (Lk 9:23), cutting off a hand or eye (Mk 9:43-48), becoming a slave (Rom 6:18), being a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God (Rom 12:10), selling all I have to follow him (Lk 12:33), I need to invest all I am into Christ if I am to be his “bride.” As the song says, “He is my everything, he is my all!”

John Telgren
Qohelet Web Ministry
Leavenworth Church of Christ
Leavenworth KS

News and Notes

PREACHING CLASSES: Just a quick reminder that starting next Sunday morning, February 8, during the Bible class hour, any male member at Grandview is welcome to attend the Textual Analysis In Advanced Preaching class down in the basement commons area. We will be learning to use Vine’s Expository Dictionary as well as a Greek-English Interlinear Bible. This will help us do better background studies on words and verses in the Bible. – Art”

Bible Bowl 2009: The Life of Samuel
Saturday, February 14  –
Registration begins 9:00 am
Hickman Road Church of Christ,
5217 Hickman Rd, Des Moines, IA? 50310
For Information contact Donna Bailey at dan@baileygoat.com, or 515-265-3028.

TRAVELING: Orrin and Marjory are travelling to Henderson, TN to attend the Freed-Hardeman Lectureships beginning Sunday, February 1, 2009.

ELDER  NOMINATION FORMS:  Prayerfully consider men to fill this position. Ask the men if they would like to serve.  Please turn in your nomination forms by February 4.

Gather at the River-
Annual Area Wide Singing &
Fellowship Soup Supper

Saturday, March 7, 2009
5:00 p.m. until 8:30 p.m.
Muscatine Church of Christ
3603 Mulberry Avenue
(Mulberry and Highway 61 Bypass)
Come and Bring Someone With You
Fellowship Meal:  5:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Singing and Prayers:  7:00 – 8:30 p.m.
If you would like to lead a song or two, please contact us at (563) 263-4750 or muscatinecofc@msn.com

Calendar of Events

Church Activities

  • Feb 14 –  Bible Bowl
  • Feb 21 – Bible Bowl Snow Date
  • Feb 21 –  Grandview Blood Drive
  • Mar 7 –  Muscatine Area Wide Singing

Member Activities

  • April 24-25  Musical Grease—Urbandale High – Ann Longfellow

Prayer Requests

Archie Cook has been having severe pain in his right arm and is having an MRI to try to find the problem.

Mitch Mort  had chemical burns on his head and shoulders.

Jim Mort is to be transferred to the Good Samaritan health care facility in Indianola. He will probably be there at least 2 weeks. (possibly longer for rehabilitation therapy) Let us encourage Jim with our visits and cards.

Remember Micah Hardy and Mike Johnson in prayer concerning their new life in Christ.

Mike Ogle’s brother will be losing his job.  Ann requested prayers for him to find a new job quickly.

Easton Van Egdom is taking good strides daily. The doctors seem to change the requirements for him to go home and it has become very discouraging. Keep praying for this family!

Cedar Falls Members:  Sharon Burke has been in and out of the ER lately with her bladder infection. She is still receiving cancer treatments in Houston.

Remember Jan Johnston‘s family at her passing.

Karen Hardy’s bone scan came back good and her hip has been diagnosed with arthritis.  Please remember her in prayer!

Remember to pray for the elder nominations.

Expectant mothers:  Cassie Johnson

Marge Stevens – Her sister’s health has been decreasing drastically.  This along with Glenn’s health has made her life very stressful.

Tyler Sparks’ Brother in law – looking for work.

Lyndsay Gordon’s sister’s baby, Michaela Sue Nobel, who was born prematurely.

Louise Gordon is making progress but is still needing our prayers.

Barb South’s brother-Mike Hysell’s brain tumor has returned. He is having treatment.

Millie Buxton is still having eye problems and please pray for Joe’s job.

Jake Ferrell’s mother has been ill and has been referred to Iowa City or Rochester.

Toni Lovejoy’s father and her grandmother with lung cancer; Bob Kunce, Kim Greer’s father also has cancer.

Jeff Moore— to follow his diagnosis go to www.caringbridge.org/visit/JeffMoore

Kimball Matkins, who has ALS go to:  www.caringbridge.org/visit/kimballmatkins.

Central Iowa Missions

  • Feb 1 – Osceola – Lew Kirk
  • Feb 8 – Blockton/Tent Chapel – Joe Buxton
  • Feb 8 – Osceola – One of their men will preach

End of this issue.