I ran a 5K race one morning near St. Clare’s Hospital in Denville last month. I like the age group competition in these races. My days of being at the front of the pack are long in the past, so it’s fun to have rivalries with those who are my own (advanced) age.
After the race, I was disappointed. I ran 2 ½ minutes slower than last year; last year I got no medal; so, I knew I had no chance to get a medal this year. I left before the winners were announced.
That afternoon, I looked up the results online. To my shock, I got the silver medal in my age group! (A friend who did stay for the awards later gave me my medal which you see in the picture.)
What an ironic outcome: my training was much weaker this year; yet I got a medal despite all that. So, the medal was quite a surprise and an unexpected gift.
Doesn’t that sound like grace? We get an unexpected free gift, as opposed to something we work so hard for and think we can earn!
Romans 6:23 ESV describes the best free gift. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
And another of my favorite grace verses is: For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
At the race, I certainly could not boast about how hard and well trained my effort was. Or how I kicked the butt of some tough competitors in my age group. (Nope, a couple of them did not even enter the race that day.) So, the medal was an unexpected gift.
I can’t take credit for anything good I have ever done that could possibly get me into a favorable place with Jesus. Salvation through Jesus is a far better unexpected gift!