It’s been quite the summer here in Northeast Ohio. A little over a month ago LeBron James announced his decision to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers through an essay in Sports Illustrated. In his essay LeBron describes how Northeast Ohio has always been his home, and he takes pride in the hard-working, blue-collar nature of our community. He writes, “In Northeast Ohio, nothing is given. Everything is earned. You work for what you have.”
We live in a country that values hard work. We love stories about people who came from nothing and made something of themselves. We wake up every morning with the firm belief that if you work hard enough you will get what you deserve. This is the American Dream: nothing is given and everything is earned. So go earn it.
Many of us take this “nothing given, everything earned” mentality and apply it to Christianity. We think that if we work hard enough to be good people that God will bless us or let us into heaven. We try to build up our resumes before God and hope that it’s enough. But this is not the Gospel; this is not Christianity.
The Gospel isn’t about us earning something; in fact it’s not really about us at all. It’s about the merciful God who loves us and gives us a gift we could never deserve or earn. It’s about the Savior who earns it all for us because we can’t do it ourselves. It’s about the Spirit who empowers us to live gracious and faithful lives in response to this unimaginable gift. In the Kingdom of God, nothing is earned and everything is given.
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 6:23