Our lives are given importance and meaning when we accept what God has given us, and act upon it.
One day, a young woman received a notice from her local post office that she had received a special letter, and was asked to go pick it up. But she never went, and the letter remained undelivered, never knowing that the letter contained a full scholarship to college – something she had actively been seeking.
So, she embarked on a long, painful journey to make it there herself. And while many honorable people have done this successfully, she seemed to fail repeatedly and become angrier and angrier in the process. She took courses from less-than-reputable sources, teaching things that were either false or not useful to her field. She took shortcuts, only to find that she had learned the wrong things. Eventually, she dropped out of school and gave up, frustrated by the process and hating education.
Another young woman actually went to the post office and received her special letter. She opened it to learn that her college education was also paid for. Instead of being happy, though, she was intimidated by all the work that lay before her: the classes, studying and tests that are part of a college education. “Why don’t they just give me a diploma so I can start working and earning money?” she said, unreasonably.
Discouraged, she decided to forgo an education, and began working in a low-paying job, where she wasn’t challenged and could do little work.
Our first example had received the free gift of a college education, but never accepted it, so she failed.
Our second example received the gift, but did not understand that work was required to achieve her goals, so she failed.
As many correctly say, God offers us a ‘free gift’ of salvation. This is certainly true, as far as it goes. But even a free gift must be first accepted. And even if accepted, we cannot hope to achieve salvation instantly, without effort.
Without faith in God, we don’t ever learn about the wonderful gifts He has given us, and continues to give us.
We don’t ever know, without faith, about the man, Jesus, he chose from among us, sending him out to preach Good News about God’s Kingdom – a radical way to live among each other in peace, serving one another and living as neighbors even among former enemies.
Without effort, we throw away God’s love. Without performing the Good Works God and his chosen one calls us to perform, we throw away the chance to be part of God’s spiritual Kingdom here on earth, and to be with God in after this life has ended.
We should not get a free gift and then show disrespect to the one who gave it to us.
By assuming we can achieve salvation without obedience and Good Works, we show disrespect to God.
By throwing away God’s free gift in the first place, our path becomes difficult and even dangerous, because we’re throwing away the knowledge that helps us walk safely and according to God’s Will.
The path that Jesus calls us to follow is a path of Good Works done in the name of God. This path delivers us from evil, from confusion, from frustration and from a life wasted by either making things up as we go, or by dreaming of instant success that never comes.
Embracing God and the one God sent, Jesus, our paths are established on a righteous and safe road, so that we may walk with peace among all of God’s creations here on earth, and have hope that we might live with God eternally.