Every so often I open the box of priceless treasures, and spend time examining these historical items passed down from generation to generation.
The Hales Farm, located in rural Liberty Center, Ohio, yielded more than corn, wheat, and soybeans from its land of over 150 years. Through instances of plowing and planting the fields, numerous arrowheads had arisen to the surface. These smooth and jagged objects, along with stones fashioned into hammers, were manufactured by the local Native American inhabitants which were indigenous to the area. Some of these artifacts, dated over a thousand years, were a living history to the civilizations which originated in the once swamp dominated region.
As I gaze upon these pieces, I thoughtfully realize that I am touching the beginning of our nation. It’s truly the gift that “keeps on giving.” But there is another gift which is even far greater than historic hunting tools. There is a gift that saves, a gift which strengthens, and a gift which supplies hope. And that is a free, gift of faith which we are being offered in the name Jesus Christ of Nazareth. In Ephesians 2:8-9 it is written, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not by your own doing; it is the gift of God not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
Faith in Jesus is free. I realize that we sometimes “scoff” at free things. And the question which instantly comes to our minds is, “How good is it if it’s free?” But is this just an excuse? Is it far to easy to place our trust in other things, rather than simply believing? The Apostle Paul sums it up in Romans 1:25 as he writes, “They exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator-who is forever praised Amen! When I was baby, my parents gave me this certain pacifier, aka “binky.” They said that I was so enamored by this molded plastic that it rarely left my mouth. Until one day it was lost, and my parents couldn’t find it. Trying to quell the disdain of their toddler, mom and dad found a new binky just like the old one, thinking that I wouldn’t notice. Crisis averted. But once that pacifier touched my lips, I somehow knew that it was a fake, and I heaved it across the room never to be used again. I was so attached to this object that nothing else would satisfy me. And If we’re so attached to the things of this world, how are we ever going to be satisfied by Jesus?
It’s hard for us humans to submit and surrender to another. We desire to control the life agenda and our destinies. But honestly, do we really have that kind of power and ability? Let’s just admit it. When it comes to eternity, forgiveness, love, strength and direction there is only one way to turn, and that is to seek Christ- “The Way, The Truth and The Life.”
This free, gift of faith is being offered. Obviously, it came at a cost through Jesus shed blood and death. But for us, no pressure. No strong arming. No coercion. The Lord knows how much it can affect our lives in such a profound and transformative way. As it is written in Joshua 23:8, “But you shall cling to the Lord your God just as you have done to this day.”
Years ago, I met a woman who constantly clung to Jesus. And did she ever need it. In a span of just a short time, her husband died, her house burnt down, and her son needed a heart transplant. Many would have abandoned Christ, and wondered, “Why me?” But she refused. In fact, her faith continued to grow stronger and stronger.
We have no idea where the journey of life is going to take us. But there is one constant. One guarantee. One variable that will never change. And that is the free, gift of faith being offered to us in Jesus Christ. May our hearts receive this faith, as it will be the ultimate gift that “keeps on giving.”