When I first moved to the Central Valley of California I was overwhelmed to see fruit trees in people’s yards. To see orange trees, grapefruit trees, peach trees, lemon trees and even avocado trees in people’s yard was amazing to me. I know I am not the only newcomer amazed by the bountiful blessing just sitting outside a front door.
To those who come from other places where fruit can only be found at a price in the supermarket, the bounty of free fruit is a deal too good to pass up. The free gift of ripe fruit!
After moving here I was talking with friends back in Texas who came Fresno about my astonishment of all the free fruit. They said I would be welcome to pick fruit at her mother’s house. So I made arrangements to go over to pick oranges. Her gracious mother even provided a ladder for me. I picked bags and bags of oranges. Too many oranges.
Now that I have lived here for four years I feel foolish for climbing into that tree when there is so much fruit around here; an overwhelming abundance of fruit everywhere. Now that I have lived here four years I take the free gift of ripe fruit for granted.
Blowing Off A Free Gift: Unfortunately as Christians we too take the free gift of grace in Christ Jesus for granted. Even though we get lost in overwhelming darkness and choke the scarcity of life, we have received “God’s abundant provision of grace” (Rom 5:17). “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.”(Eph 2:8)
- How is it that we feel that “the boundless riches of Christ” (Eph 3:8) poured out on the cross for us can be taken for granted?
- How is it that we become blind and indifferent to “the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus” (Eph 2:7) ?
The unspiritual perspective of life is what blinds us to the wonder of fresh grace. For this reason we are each called into the community of faith to be reminded to celebrate the gift we take for granted. Paul reminds the people in the Corinthian church how God is constantly showers us with all spiritual blessing:
I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way . . . God thus confirming our testimony about Christ among you. Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. (1 Cor 1:4-7)
More than Citrus Pulp: This free gift of grace, this free gift of new life, comes to us every moment from the Lord. This free gift of grace is a miracle of God’s love poured out for you in the cross of Christ. The best way to savor the riches of this grace is to see Christ more in your every day life.
“May Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through knowing God, and of Jesus our Lord.” (2 Peter 1:2)
Your friend in Christ, Pastor Douglas