Tuesday, July 17, 2012

My Tanzanite Ring

Some gifts are precious because of what they communicate about the nature of the giver.

There was a tanzanite ring I saw once at our local mall that was just my taste. The color of the lovely purple stone was enhanced by the small diamonds surrounding it. I really wanted that ring, but my husband and I decided we’d rather continue to eat than buy it. With three kids in college at the time it was a pretty easy decision.

Several months later Alan and I managed to get away to the beach for a few days, courtesy of one of those timeshare promotions. As we browsed through one of the stores in the area, I spied it; my ring, and it was on sale! I pointed it out to him, and even tried it on to show him how it was just made for my hand. In disbelief I heard him say, “We’ll take it.”

tanzanite ring

Quickly reality coupled with a large dose of guilt set in, and the words tumbled out of my mouth; “Honey, thanks, but you know we can’t afford it.”

Firmly and decisively Alan repeated; “We’ll take it.”

I wear my ring almost every day, not only because it is beautiful, but also because it was an extravagant gesture of Alan’s love for me.

Because of the way He loves us God, too, is extravagant in the gifts He gives.

He delights to give us His extravagant grace. It is grace that made a way for us to be reconciled with Him (Ephesians 2:8-9). Grace gives us both the desire and the power to do what pleases Him (Philippians 2:13, NLT). Blessings that we do not deserve flow from it.

From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. John 1:16

God also rejoices to give us His extravagant mercy. Where grace gives us what we do not deserve, mercy chooses not to give us what we do. Mercy frees us from condemnation (Romans 8:1). Mercy chooses compassion over righteous anger (Psalm 51:1, Lamentations 3:22-23). It is mercy that, on the cross, exchanged our sin for the righteousness of Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:21) and gave us birth into a living hope through His resurrection (1 Peter 1:3).

Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.                               Micah 7:18-19

Both grace and mercy are the result of God’s extravagant love. That love sought us when we turned away from Him. It continually calls us to a deeper fellowship with Him. Unchanging and unconditional, His unfailing love fills the whole earth (Psalm 33:4-5).

I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples. For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies.                                                                                            Psalm 57:9-10

We cannot earn His gifts. We can only praise the One who gives them so extravagantly.

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

Further reflection:

  1. Has anyone ever given you an extravagant gift?
  2. How did you feel about it?
  3. Take a few minutes to ponder God’s gifts, and journal a prayer of thanks to Him for them.

Father, when I stop to think about the richness of Your gifts, I am overwhelmed. The grace, the mercy, and the love that flow from Your heart are beyond my understanding. Help me never to take them for granted, but to give You the praise that You deserve.

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