Few people knew me better as a boy than my father and mother.. Early on, they recognized a tendency in me to try to "buy" approval by working harder than expected and doing more than people asked. My parents would often say "These are good traits to give as gifts to others, but you should never use them to buy acceptance and love from people, or from God."

To help me understand this, they told me to read Jesus' promise in Matthew 11:30 that "His yoke is easy", a statement that sometimes seems too simple to be true. Then pointing to Micah 6:6-8, they said: "Now read this and ask yourself if there are any gifts you can give God that He does not already have." Yes, the answer is simply no. Then they went on to explain that God cannot be bought, the gift of grace is free. Since this is true, what should be our response? To do justly to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. I learned that these were acts of gratitude, not of purchase.

Let Micah 6 be a reminder that grace is free and that faithful living is our grateful response. Good works are not the means of salvation but the result.

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