“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight.” Ephesians 1:7-8
The Great Depression began nearly ninety years ago with Black Tuesday, the Great Stock Market Crash of 1929. Though we are far removed from that time period, the effects of it left an impact on families for generations to come. Cautious, careful, conservative or downright stingy have been some of the resultant attitudes that have been taught and practiced. But the Holy Scriptures teach a God who cannot be described with such words. There is nothing stingy about our gracious God and His gifts.
One of the common words used to described God’s attitude towards His children is περισσεύω (perisseuo), which means to overflow, to abound, to have in abundance. It is often a concept that can be somewhat foreign to us. We are more accustomed to more prudent attitudes with the giving of gifts. But that’s just not the sort of Lord that we have. When God created Adam, He put him in the garden and gave him everything in it, save one tree. Every good and perfect gift comes from above. In Christ, we have redemption, forgiveness and grace. But Paul wants to make clear to the Ephesians how extravagant that God is with these gifts. God’s grace is described in terms of riches and wealth. Then he ties it all together with the word translated here in the English Standard Version as “lavished.” God causes His gifts of mercy and grace to overflow for His beloved children. And such gifts grate against our American sensibilities because they are so abundant and they do not come as a result of our hard work and initiative, but solely by His grace.
But the list of things in which the readers of Paul’s letters abound is long. Elsewhere encourages the saints that they abound in hope, comfort, confidence, and love. May God’s extravagant grace and love overflow in your life. While there may be days where the pressures and problems you face seem overwhelming, God causes hope and comfort to overflow for you. The hurts and anguish that you endure each day are never greater than the overflowing gifts of grace that God has lavished upon you through faith in Christ and given in Word and Sacrament. God is not stingy! In Christ, He has lavished upon you the forgiveness of all your sins and the riches of His grace. May you overflow with comfort and hope because of God’s gifts for you.
Prayer – Heavenly Father, God of all grace, govern our hearts that we may never forget Your blessings but steadfastly thank and praise You for all Your goodness in this life until, with all Your saints, we praise You eternally in Your heavenly kingdom; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Fraternally in Christ,
President Lee Hagan