I am sitting here looking at a bunch of very pretty return address labels that I received from the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Hospital. They have my name and address on them with some lovely scenes in the corner. The amazing thing is that I didn't order them or give anything to the hospital to get them. They just arrived in my mailbox as a free gift.
I haven't used any yet, but I am going to when I send out a few letters this afternoon. Nobody will know where I got them. They aren't part of an advertising campaign. They will actually make me look pretty good and even very trendy.
It got me thinking about the way God operates. He does the same thing. He blesses us before we even do anything to honor or serve him. God doesn't withhold his benefits or his love until we accomplish a certain number of things. He gives it freely in advance of anything we can or will do.
He called Abraham to follow him and told him he would be the father of a great nation and a light unto the world. He told David that he would be king and that his house would reign forever even before he was a man. He told Peter, Andrew, James and john that they would be fishers of men before they even dropped their nets to follow him.
What's even more amazing is the fact that as the apostle Paul tells us, that while we were yet sinners, God gave his son for us. We didn't do anything to deserve God's grace. He made the first move with the hope that we would respond in love and embrace his gift going forward.
I thank God for that. Now we can accept his gracious gift and use it to bring glory to God.