The "Gift" that Requires Work
(Since Matthew got us thinking about analogies, I thought maybe this one would be fun to kick around. How does this relate to the "gift" of salvation by grace through faith?)
A woman recieved a birthday gift from her mother one year. The mother handed her daughter an envelope. On the outside of the envelope it said "The Gift of Physical Fitness - for you!"
In scepticism, (understandably) the daughter opened the envelope to find a certificate for a life-long Deluxe Membership to a very exclusive health spa.
"Mom, I think you have misrepresented your gift." said the daughter. "You really aren't giving me the gift of physical fitness at all. You are giving me the opportunity to go to a health spa and spend hours of my life (that I don't have) panting and sweating so I can (maybe) come close to reaching that ever-changing, ambiguous definition of what a physically fit person is. Without my time, commitment and effort, your gift is not worth the paper it is printed on."
"Yes, honey, that is how physical fitness is, you must do it yourself. No one can do it for you. This gift cost me my entire savings, but it will cost you your time, energy, and your suurender to a whole new way of life ... but ... the rewards will be great!"
"Thanks, mom, but haven't you noticed? ... I have no time to go to a health spa because I'm working three jobs to pay off an enormous credit card debt. Why didn't you just take the money and pay off my credit cards instead? Now, that would have been a great gift ... "