Simon picked up the stubby pencil that hung from an old, white piece of string next to his calendar. The overly-sharpened point of the pencil scratched deep into the paper as he crossed off another day.
He studied the calendar for a moment before slamming the pencil against the wall. Six ‘x’ marks scarred his new calendar. It had been six days now and not a single reply. The deep wounds to the calendar seemed nothing compared to the wounds to his ego.
It had been six days since he mailed out his “Happy New Year” cards and not a single reply. “Ungrateful is what they are,” he thought to himself. Despite the coolness of the winter morning, Simon could feel his blood beginning to simmer on its way to boiling. “Gifts,” he mumbled as he clomped out of the kitchen.
A gift with strings attached is not a gift; it is a trade for something in return. This kind of ‘gift’ is held against the recipient until a fair trade is made.
God doesn’t give trades. He dispenses grace.
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works lest anyone should boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).