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The Gift

Read Ephesians 2:1-10

Because of his kindness you have been saved through trusting Christ. And even trusting is not of yourselves; it too is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good we have done, so none of us can take any credit for it. It is God himself who has made us what we are and given us new lives from Christ Jesus; and long ago he planned that we should spend these lives in helping others. Ephesians 2: 8-10 (TLB)

Marsha Howard lives in Texas. The pink clutch with plastic embossed flowers was one of the prettiest things her eight-year-old eyes had ever seen. The salesclerk told Marsha it cost one dollar, so she decided to work until she could buy it.

Marsha did jobs at home and for neighbors until she finally had enough money. At the checkout counter, the clerk said, "That will be one dollar and ten cents." Marsha asked her why it cost an extra ten cents, and she explained that it was tax. Marsha didn't have enough money.

As Marsha turned around to put the purse back, a man standing behind her placed change on the counter, "I'll pay the ten cents for her," he said. Marsha looked up and thanked him for this gift. She cherished the purse for years, and every time she thinks of it, she also thinks of the man who paid the tax for her.

Much like Marsha 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.

Prayer: 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, in Jesus' name. Amen.

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