Today is my wife Becky’s birthday. In honor of her birthday here is a special birthday story. The late H. P. Barker used to relate an incident in connection with a birthday to illustrate the freeness of salvation. The son of a friend at whose home he was staying was named Harold. He was a lad of about 10 and enjoyed Mr. Barker's friendship and confidence. One day Harold came to him and said, 'Mr. Barker, tomorrow is our school Sports' Day. Would you like to come and see the sports?' Mr. Barker replied that he would be delighted, and accordingly Harold gave him a ticket for the sports and arranged to meet him at the entrance to the field and be his guide for the day. Soon after they entered the field Harold took his guest to a large case where the prizes for the various events were displayed under glass. Pointing to a lovely silver watch, Harold said, `Mr. Barker, do you see that watch? That is the first prize for a race for which I have entered and it is going to be mine.' Mr. Barker, wishing him all the success he coveted in that particular event, waited eagerly to see the race. Alas! Harold was outstripped by others, and did not come in first, or even second, but had to be content with a third place. At the distribution of the prizes Harold's face fell when he saw the silver watch being presented to someone else. Nothing was said at the time, by either Mr. Barker or Harold.
A few days later Harold was again in conversation with Mr. Barker and said, 'Tomorrow is my birthday, and I shall get up early and come downstairs to see my birthday presents which will all be laid out on a table in the hall.' That day the boy was an early riser, but Mr. Barker had come downstairs before him and was waiting inside one of the rooms to see his young friend's joy and surprise as he opened the parcels containing his birthday gifts. When Harold appeared he brushed aside the larger packages and picked out a silver watch in the centre, which was his parents' gift to him. Putting it to his ear, he exclaimed joyfully, `It's going.' Then Mr. Barker approached from his place of vantage and said, 'Harold, you wanted a silver watch and did your very utmost to earn one at your school sports, but you failed. Now what you could not earn by your own efforts you have received as a free gift. That is like God's gift of eternal life. It cannot be earned by our good works but must be accepted as the free gift of God.'
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in[a] Christ Jesus our Lord.
- Romans 6:23 (New International Version)
Dear Lord we thank you for that special gift of salvation. We pray that we would take the gift and share it with those around us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.