“We have received God’s Spirit…so that we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us.” -2 Corinthians 2:12

“The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose.  And both will be rewarded for their own hard work.” – 2 Corinthians 3:8

When I was a boy, my dad had me mow the lawn each week.

That was how I earned money, but the condition was that while there were $10 available for me, only $4 were for getting the grass cut.  The other $6 were all about the character I showed in how I got the job done.  Was I prompt or did I drag it out?  Was my attitude cheerful or negative?  Did I focus on the opportunity or the obligation?

No matter how I did the job (or even if I did it at all), my dad never stopped loving me, never stopped accepting me.  In fact, he couldn’t.  Nothing I could do would ever take away his love.

The thing is, my father freely gave me everything I needed to reap the maximum blessing.  What I did with it, however, was up to me.

So it is with God.

There is nothing we can ever do to make Him take away His love for us or His acceptance of us in Christ.  More than that, He has indeed, “freely given us wonderful things”, not because of our efforts, but because of Jesus.

At the same time, those wonderful things also invite us to respond well, if we are to maximize our joy in them and our benefit from them.  Like my lawn mowing days, there is a baseline blessing for all of God’s children, but a bigger one for those who are diligent to draw it out (cf 2 Corinthians 3:11-15).

Never forget that salvation and the favor are free gifts given to God’s children through no work of their own, a blessing for us all.

Never forget as well that at the same time, for those who would know and receive even more of “the unsearchable riches of Christ” (Ephesians 3:8), the deeper we dig, the more treasure we’ll find.