Devotion for July 16
By Bryan Chapell

When the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy (Titus 3:4-5).

Raising his family in the rural South, my father taught all his sons how to use a cross-cut saw. One brisk, fall morning, we began sawing through a log that we didn’t know was rotten inside.

The log unexpectedly split, fell off the frame, and hit the ground hard. A piece that broke off looked to my childhood imagination like a horse’s head.

Later, I used that rotten piece of horse-head-looking wood to construct a rickety tie rack for my father’s birthday. He carefully removed my clumsy gift wrapping, examined the gift, and tactfully said, “That’s wonderful. What is it?”

After I explained, he graciously used it as his tie rack for years. Yet as I matured, I recognized more and more that my “work of art,” was not nearly as well crafted as I once believed. My father used the work not because of its goodness but because of his.

In a similar way, our heavenly Father receives our works, not because they deserve his love, but because he is love. His goodness causes us to delight offering him our works, even if we know they still need his understanding mercy.

Father, I present myself and the work I do today as a gift to you. Thank you for lovingly accepting it more out of your goodness than mine – which makes me even more desirous of serving you with my best rather than my boasting.

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