But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.
- Ephesians 2:4-5
“God does not save us because of what we’ve done. Only a puny god could be bought with tithes. Only an egotistical god would be impressed with our pain. Only a temperamental god could be satisfied by sacrifices. Only a heartless god would sell salvation to the highest bidders.
“And only a great God does for his children what they can’t do for themselves.
“God’s delight is received upon surrender, not awarded upon conquest. The first step to joy is a plea for help, an acknowledgment of moral destitution, an admission of inward paucity. Those who taste God’s presence have declared spiritual bankruptcy and are aware of their spiritual crisis. … Their pockets are empty. Their options are gone. They have long since stopped demanding justice; they are pleading for mercy.”
- Max Lucado, The Applause of Heaven
Max Lucado’s comment about tithes is oddly timed in this post, being the annual stewardship and pledge season. Get your pledges in. Get your budgets finalized for next year. Live by certainty instead of faith. Sorry, this season hits a nerve.
Would an egotistical god, who enjoys his power to have us suffer with pain, also be considered a sadistic god?
Why would a temperamental god be temperamental to be satisfied with sacrifices? Is it because it just suits his fancy that day?
My testimony last Thursday night started with my Dad trying a last-ditch effort to save the farm and turkey processing plant, just to have a millionaire outbid him by $100 on an in-city property deal. Sealed bids? Not if you are a millionaire, allegedly. In losing that bid, our family lost everything. I even lost my Dad who went to work on the road as a field engineer, hardly ever home. That bit about the ‘highest bidder’ shaped my life. In some ways, I became is quirky, weird kid. But in other ways, it led me to Max Lucado’s last paragraph in the quote above. Empty pockets and out of options. There was plenty of reasons for demanding justice, but, eleven years after the highest bidder stole my future, all I desired was mercy.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.