I’ve been pretty taken with an article I read on God’s grace this morning, which again brings home the idea that, in Christ, we get gifts that we’ve done nothing to earn. You can read the full article here.
At the same time I have had a heavy heart for a friend facing difficulties. I texted her to say I was praying and want to be faithful to continue in prayer. She texted back to say, “Thank you for bearing this burden with me.”
I’ve adopted a habit of using the Spanish words “de nada” when being thanked, even though I really, unfortunately am an English-only speaker! Literally this means, it’s nothing. In my mind I mean, in comparison to my friendship with you or the grace I have been shown in Christ, or the grand scheme of things, etc.—what I give is nothing!
But here’s the deal. Sometime what we give is something. Sometimes what we give feels like something to us. Sometimes we may struggle to give at all.
And sometimes saying, “it is nothing” downplays the seriousness or gravity of the gift or the recipient’s need.
In English and Swahili, in response to a “thank you” we say, “you are welcome” or “karibu.”
While I like telling people “it is nothing”—because love can make giving feel like nothing—I think “you are welcome” is more like God.
What He has given us cost Him. Yet He gives freely and welcomes us.
Quoting the article on grace, “Paul talks about Christ as the gift of God, the grace of God. What is striking about this is that the gift is given without regard to the worth of the people who receive it…Nothing about them makes them worthy of this gift.”
I believe that when we go to God to say, “thank you” for this gift, His reply is “you are welcome my child.” And while I love the Spanish “it is nothing” expression (also French—“De rien”), I don’t think our Lord replies “it is nothing.” It is something, yet freely given. And we are welcome. And that is a welcome that—thankfully—we will not wear out.