One December many years ago, a stranger pulled up to our house with a package. He asked my mother to give it to me, which she did. Upon opening it I was overjoyed – it was a shiny new Kodak Brownie camera. (You know – those old boxy things with the big flash attachment on the side). It was a very expensive gift for a child to receive. You see, I’d met the man a few weeks before on one of my frequent visits to the dentist. He was a fellow patient waiting his turn, and he asked me what I wanted for Christmas. Having never owned one, I told him I’d like a camera. The memory of his generosity has been a great example to me over the years.
There are many things one could point out from this story, but I’ll mention only two. I didn’t deserve this stranger’s gift. I hadn’t ever done anything nice for him; in fact I still don’t know who he was. But he did the work to go and buy the camera, then figure out where we lived so he could deliver it. God says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.” (NRSV).
A second thought: responsibility. There is no doubt the man expected me to look after his gift, appreciate it, and not be selfish with it. My parents didn’t have a camera at the time, so we shared its use for many years. God expects us to be responsible with His gift of salvation, to live in a worthy way, and to share it.
There’s something special about a Kodak moment. But what God did for you is enormously better.
– Tim Johnson