We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. – Romans 3:22-24
I walked up to the cashier and greeted her with a smile.
“How are you today?” She asked mechanically, not really expecting much of an answer.
“I’m blessed. How are you?” I asked. She shrugged her shoulders and continued to scan my items.
I paid with cash, and as she went to return my change a quarter fell from her hand, rolled off the counter, and continued its journey across the entrance.
We turned to watch the coin. A few people walked by it, but a little boy (about six years old) focused in on the shiny rolling coin. I started to step over to retrieve it, and then stopped to watch would he would do.
He ran towards the quarter and grabbed it, still in mid-rotation. As he picked it up he looked towards me and without hesitation began to walk it over to me to return it. I put my hand up to stop him.
“Keep the change.” I winked.
His eyes widened as he looked down at the coin. He smiled and turned to his little sister, now standing beside him, to show her what he received. Now a little “richer”, he excitedly ran over to his mom standing nearby and continued into the store.
As I grabbed my bag and walked out the door, I couldn’t help but smile myself. Me and that little boy weren’t all that different. He’s not that different from you.
When Jesus died on the cross, he paid the price. Not just any price. MY sinful debt. His body, his blood, his life, were an expensive payment for the price of my life.
…having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. – Colossians 2:14
When I learned of his sacrifice, I was drawn like that little boy. The beauty of it compelled me to reach out and grab a hold of Christ. As excited as I was, as excited as I am, I still have my moments when it hits me….
This isn’t mine.
I didn’t earn it.
I’m not worthy.
I look down into my hands and see the freedom, the peace, the joy, the LOVE that comes from accepting Christ's sacrifice and without realizing it, I start walking back toward him to return it.
Think about it. Every time we worry, walk in unforgiveness, remain in bondage to an addiction, or refuse to trust God with our finances, we are rejecting the price Christ paid. We are trying to return that beautiful shiny coin.
But you know what?
He doesn’t want it back.
So what does Christ want?
And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice--the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. – Romans 12:1
As I walked out the store, I heard a whisper, “I paid the price. YOU keep the change.”
Let the truth of Christ’s loving sacrifice transform you.
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! – 2 Corinthians 5:17
He paid the price.
YOU keep the change.
Walk in love. Forgive. Be free. Have peace. Speak life. Give generously.
Keep the change.
And not just for you.
Just like that little boy, you have sisters, brothers, parents, neighbors, friends, coworkers, and even strangers that need to see the change you have in your hands. Are you going to share it?
Keep the change.
Because when others see that change, it will draw them closer to truth of His sacrifice. It will change them!
So keep the change. Not because you earned it, but because it is Christ's beautiful gift to you.
Take account of your life. Are you still staring at that coin on the ground? Have you picked it up and returned it? Or have you grabbed a hold of the change?
For those interested, there is a useful assessment to help assess your spiritual growth. Another more thorough assessment and plan can be found here.
Let’s pray: God we thank You for Your transformational power. We thank You for the price that Christ paid for us on the cross and his atoning sacrifice for our sins. As I grab a hold of this truth, let it transform me into the new creature that You desire. As I draw nearer to the cross, I lay down myself and follow Christ example. As I draw nearer to the cross, I will never be the same. Let the fruits of the spirit - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control - take root, grow, and produce a great harvest in my life and in the lives of those around me. I choose to keep the change, in Jesus name. Amen.