Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. He predestined us to adoption according to the kind intention of his will. He freely bestows grace, and even lavishes it on us. He reveals himself to us, so that we can know him and the hope of his calling and marvel at his glory and power. He works all things according to his will. He is faithful to keep all his promises, and strong enough to do all that he wills. He is rich in love and mercy with surpassing riches of grace and kindness toward us. And then, after he has adopted us (who were before so far away in our slavery to sin and death) as his children, he draws us in and makes us a part of the work he is doing by carefully crafting us and arranging for the works he has prepared in advance for us to do. To top all that off, he then rewards us for doing the things he prepared for us.
I took a walk today and was thinking about these things, and about God’s kindness and generosity. It occurred to me that his generosity falls in two categories. One, is his generosity in giving gifts. His grace and mercy are key examples, pouring out what I can not possibly do anything to deserve. I can’t grasp the extent and depth of these gifts, partly because I can’t understand the span from the depths of my sin to his holiness. But they are clearly gifts, and clearly unearned, and it is easy to remember it is his kindness and grace and be grateful.
The second type of God’s kindness is in his rewards. God rewards his children and servants in vast disproportion to what we deserve. He pours rewards out for us from the endless well of his kindness, instead of according to the limits of our abilities or our response. That is clearly so from what he says and the witness of our testimony. But even still, because we do something to earn reward, it is easy to think somehow the unbounded generosity is earned.
I wish there were more obedience in my life, but in the places I have been obedient he has poured unmerited blessings in response. It is in response–God’s response to our doing what he has called us to do–but that doesn’t make it earned. His generosity is his, and the rewards are measured by his kindness rather than by what is due. So it is surprising that we can so easily forget to be grateful, and can so easily fall into pride. We’re like the workers who think they are entitled to more than our due because the master has been so kind before. His generosity points to his unending kindness, not to anything I can bring.
God is good, and I am so grateful to be his child!