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  • "A Musing Pastor"

Unexpected Gifts.

The gracious outpouring of love from another person can be so sweet!

We ventured out last Saturday morning to buy a car. In the course of the day after 4-5 stops, we finally settled on a used vehicle that would be practical and meet our needs. Because we were in our daughter's neighborhood, we decided to share a meal with her and visit a little. Over the eight years we lived in York county, we found a little pizza shop that served great food and had some of the warmest most hospitable small business owners we had ever met. Andrew and Anna, became good friends and we frequented their restaurant weekly.

So, it was an easy decision last Saturday to stop in for an Italian sub (Yes, they are called 'subs' in York county) and pizza. We exchanged pleasantries and ordered. We received the usual warm welcome, quick service, and yummy food. We talked to our daughter and shared a meal with our youngest and oldest children. It was fun. However, the best was yet to come.

As we gathered our things and stood to leave, Andrew called from behind the counter, "Wait, please sit back down; I have something for you." We were a bit surprised but sat back down and waited with some curious expectation. Then, this happened.

This Sicilian treat (unnamed) was doughy, crispy, hot, chocolatey, and powdered sugary good! We were so overwhelmed by Andrew's gift we were speechless. We could only thank him and enjoy this unexpected gift. Did we deserve it? Probably not. Did Andrew want to bless us? Absolutely. He was a bit emotional and for Andrew that was a change. He is usually all business.

Since that day, I have been thinking about Andrew's gift and have easily equated it with God's unconditional gift of love offered to us. A lot of similarities begin to emerge. Romans 5 helps me see the parallels.

"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we

have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through

him! For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how

much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also

rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

(Romans 5:8-11, NIV)

Did we merit the free dessert from Andrew? We did nothing to pay for it or earn it. Andrew wanted to give it as a thank you for the friendship we share. God offered his son Jesus as a gift for humanity. We did nothing to pay for him or earn him; he was freely given as a way to express God's own love to us.

Do you know what it feels like to receive God's gift of salvation? It is much like getting a plate of hot, crispy, doughy, chocolatey, powdered sugary goodness plopped right down in front of you and it's all free.

Don't hesitate to receive this free gift of God, then live a life that reflects your gratitude. Give thanks to God with a grateful heart!

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