Earning Your Way

My 5 year old son made the interesting choice two nights ago to jump from the grapefruit tree, and while the gravity pulled him toward earth, a broken branch pulled the fatty part of his upper right arm wide open. Needless to say, my husband and I spent many hours next to him in the emergency room of the children’s hospital. A local urgent care had dressed the wound enough to be presentable, and my son was brave enough not to yell, so the hours in the ER ticked by while more pitiful and urgent matters were attended to. One was an older woman, about 80 if I had to guess, who had her husband with her as well as a kind female neighbor. As I eavesdropped on their sweet conversation, I heard the neighbor woman say, “Don’t worry honey, they’ll take you back very soon….no, no I am not going to leave you. I’m right here. I will stay with you as long as it takes. You are going to be just fine.”
The elderly lady just sat there confused as to why she was there at the hospital, with a possible stroke, and the younger woman caressing her hands. Periodically the younger woman would reassure her while the husband looked on, and at one point I heard the older woman whine, “Why are you so nice to me?”
The middle-aged blond smiled, shook her head, and loudly exhaled a robust “I’m trying to earn my way into heaven!” in which case they all chuckled. I caught what was said with a more serious face, and in a lower voice that followed, “I’m not sure I’m going to make it in, but I’ll try.” Then there were no more words, and all who were in the waiting room, including me, fell into a pensive silence.

What was I thinking in those few seconds of pensive quiet? 
Poor thing. She doesn’t realize that salvation is God’s gift to her when she turns to Jesus, and turns from her sin. I was thinking gosh, all she has to do is ‘call on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.’ He already bought her with His blood. Already took her punishment. She, and everyone else in that room, was bought with a price. And so were you.

Can you earn your way in?
Do you go see a priest? Confess to him? Say whatever prayers he tells you to?
Are you volunteering? Going door to door? Helping an elderly neighbor put up Christmas lights? How about sponsoring a child in a third world country, supporting a missionary, or paying for a village well so the kids can have clean drinking water. These are all loving things to do, but the Bible is very clear. Salvation is a gift. Nothing can save you except the blood of Jesus Christ.
Nothing. Not attending church. Not having a rosary hanging from a rear view mirror. Special undergarments can’t save you, quitting smoking can’t, nor can cutting back on your potty mouth. Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Many of us do wonderfully generous things in the name of faith, but it should be an overflow of His love for us, not to earn His love and favor. You were bought with a price. There was a bounty on His head because of you and me. Unlike the lady in the hospital, tonight I have the guts to open my mouth and tell you. Nothing will save you, but the blood of Jesus.


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