The Grace of Gifts I had looked forward to this party for weeks. Everything was just right. It was one of those little Christmas parties that employees have among each other. This one was different than the usual ones however, in a few ways, and that’s what made it special. We were a new team, we had all just been assembled a few months earlier so we were all getting to know each other. It was a good team and a good year. I had money. Also, and maybe most significant, I had done my shopping, I was ready this time. I had been watching my teammates over the last few months and had made notes of what each needed. This year there would be no silly fruit baskets or gag gifts, this year it would be the good stuff. It should have tipped me off when people looked uncomfortably at my big bags of gifts when I arrived at the party but silly me didn’t notice. I was happy and full of holiday spirit and didn’t catch on. To this day I’m not sure what I would have done had I noticed. But, it happened, its past and I learned from it. It was another of those bad experiences that God brought some good from, my life is full of those. Fortunately, He’s good about damage control. But I’m wandering from my original point. We had a nice lunch, some conversation, then the gift giving. There were five of us, they decided to go around the table clockwise. That, as events would have it, put me last. The first gift I received was a screwdriver, it was a very nice one and even though I had tons of them I was glad to get it since I lose them daily. Everyone else got similar gifts. The next person dipped into their bag and after a universal chuckle around the table, we were given more screwdrivers. After that I got a pen, which is always appreciated as I lose more pens than screwdrivers. The ceremony went pretty much the same around the table until it was my turn. The first present I handed out was a small piece of test equipment. I had noted over the last two months that the recipient had needed one. His reaction was less than I had expected or hoped. He looked uncomfortable. The next gift I gave was a set of good quality screwdrivers which was received happily but with an unmistakable look of worry. My gifts as it turned out were a lot more expensive than the others. I hadn’t given price a thought, I just wanted my friends to have nice gifts and be happy. The effect was the opposite. After the party people tended to avoid me, they wouldn’t have lunch with me, take a break with me or "hang out" with me. I was hurt and disappointed. It took me some time, I don’t remember how long, but I finally figured out what my crime had been. It may be obvious to you, but I was a bit slow. I had unknowingly topped their gifs, which made them uncomfortable for various reasons. My best friend, who was among our group told me that they all felt indebted to me now. This had never been my intent and I was hurt at the whole idea. It makes sense now that I look at it in hindsight, its what we’re programmed to do and think. Society programs us to want to earn our way and repay debts real or imagined. The thought of something free grates on us like fingers on a chalk board. ‘Free’ indicates either worthless junk or a catch. Even now I bet someone that reads this will cringe at the word. My mother always used to say that ‘nothing is free’, she too has been brainwashed by satan (sorry mom). Hold on, how does he fit into this? I think, and its just my opinion, that when he saw the free gift offered to us, he started to program us to reject things that are free. I think our distaste for the concept of ‘free’ is a result of that. People will bash me and attack me for this but that’s ok. Satan, you see, hates us more than we can know, he wants us dead. He doesn’t want servants, he doesn’t want disciples or flunkies, he wants us, he wants YOU dead. He wants us physically and even more importantly, spiritually dead. Only one thing stops him, one thing gets in his way, and that is the gift that he doesn’t want us to have. Salvation. Eternal life. Free to us, paid for at a very high price by God but offered to us for free. Satan doesn’t want us to believe that we have this gift, maybe he doesn’t believe it himself, maybe he never accepted the fact that God made us and put us above angels, above satan himself before he revolted. I don’t know why he hates us but he does. If he can’t keep us from knowing about salvation, his plan is to make us think that ‘nothing is free’ as he has programmed my mom to believe (sorry mom). He fools some people into thinking they can and have to earn it, which we can’t. The debt was too great and we’re too poor. He puts the silliest ideas in our heads about how we can earn the gift. Penances, good works, money, poverty, humility, self mutilation, scapulars, the list goes on. Some gifts are simply too expensive for us to repay. Some gifts we can only receive and be happy (Did you feel that little twinge.) All we can do is have the grace to receive it. Just believe that God will save you from destruction. Too simple for you? That would be satan again whispering to you, telling you how ridiculous the whole idea is. Its not something that I made up, nor is it my opinion, its what god himself tells us: Because if you confess the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved. (Romans 10:9). Just want salvation and trust that god can and will do it. Its your choice.
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