I am writing this column on payday. I know that some think we preachers talk too much about money. Some avoid church altogether because of that.
I’m not going to talk to you about your giving habits in this column. I just want to talk about this idea of payday.
I have a payday routine. I go by the bank, deposit my check and almost always get a few dollars back to keep in my wallet. I am of the generation that pays cash at the local fast-food place and always keep a few dollars on me.
In the evening of payday, I sit down at my computer desk and pay bills. I write checks and prepare envelopes to mail, pay a couple of bills online and record one or two more that are automatic drafts. By the end of the day, I will have paid all of the bills that are due prior to my next payday.
Why am I talking about this? Well, we live in a society that is built on what many call, “The Protestant work ethic.” By that, we mean that a person receives in pay what they earn — “An honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay.” That is the motto. And there is biblical merit to that. Paul once wrote, “If a man does not work, do not let him eat.” So we believe it is right to work for your living.
Because we believe in this work ethic, it is difficult for many to accept the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It simply is this: You do not have to work for your salvation. It is a gift that you receive. God offers that gift to anyone who trusts in him. You cannot earn it.
Many find that difficult to accept or believe, so they continue to try to earn salvation by any number of methods. Some attend church, pray so many times a day or do good deeds in order to gain right standing with God. Some believe that following certain rituals is the path to God.
But the New Testament is clear. “By grace you have been saved … this is not your own doing; it is the gift of god, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” That is found in Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus — and it remains the truth today.
There is no way we could earn salvation; it is too costly. However, the good news is that Jesus paid the ultimate price so that we might be saved. I am so glad that I have trusted in him, and it is my prayer that you will do the same.
The offer is there. What will you do with it?