Respond. Ultimately, it is impossible to respond to something that you are not aware of. Responding requires listening. The word response comes from the Latin, responsum meaning "something offered in return." In English, it is used similarly and indicates an answer or a reaction. If there is no initial action, there is no baseline for a reaction. The word respond in and of itself indicates the need to give something back because it begins with the prefix, "re-".
Last week we took a look back over our lives. It was a time to remember ways in which we may not have seen abundance through the lens of God's grace and His Son, Jesus Christ. This week, we will focus on our response to this abundance.
Last year, my mother-in-law, Barbara, passed away after an early and short struggle with Alzheimer's Disease. Before she began suffering memory loss, she sat down with my husband and discussed how she wanted to administer the family's inheritance. This inheritance wasn't something anyone earned, but it was there to be given. Having the conversation seemed foreign, almost unbelievable. This was not a scenario any of us wanted to engage in, nor was it something we would have ever anticipated so early in her life. But on the day she went home to be with Jesus, everything she and her husband had worked for financially was transferred to a new account and we could either receive it or deny it.
Years before her diagnosis, my mother-in-law would at times bless us with something financial. She would say, " I want to see my kids enjoy their inheritance before I am gone." I was never fully sure how I should respond, but I knew her action deserved a response.
The Bible says in Matthew 7:11 that if we, "who are evil can give good gifts, how much more will our heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask?" In those moments when we had received good gifts from my husband's mom, there was a sense of gratefulness and thanksgiving. It was always apparent that she desired to bless her children and her children's children.
And so it is with our Father. He has intentions to bless us as He so abundantly and lavishly demonstrated by giving "His only Son that whoever believed in Him would not perish but have everlasting life." (John 3:16) God gave. His action deserves a response. The question is, how are we going to respond to God's abundant gift to us? To respond with a believing heart is the first step, but it doesn't stop there. After that first response, our relationship with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit is a beautiful song and dance of give, respond, give, respond. He is ever worthy of our response. Gratefulness. Thanksgiving. Obedience. Love. Our eternal inheritance isn't something we have earned, but our God adores seeing His children enjoying it, here and now! Respond.
"We love because He first loved us." ~ 1 John 4:19