More than a gift card!
by Kelly Pontsler, Major –
A personal note to everyone who has ever given me a gift card: THANKS! The music has been downloaded, the coffee has been enjoyed, and I am a satisfied customer! Perhaps even more so, because it didn’t cost me a thing!
I mention that because I recently read several articles about the number of gift cards that go unused. One estimate I saw put the value of gift cards still floating around in wallets and dresser drawers at something like 7 billion dollars. Can you imagine?
I think gift cards are a great idea! Kudos to whoever had THAT brainstorm! It’s hard to know what to get for people sometimes. My tastes are not necessarily their tastes. Gift cards offer choice and a bit of fun, they cost only one stamp to send, and everyone I know enjoys both giving and getting them. So why are there so many cards going to waste?
The stores that issued the cards aren’t worried. Gift cards are just cash in hand for them. For the cost of a few cents worth of plastic, they reap huge rewards, especially when the cards are never redeemed. It’s great for their corporations and investors—but is that really the point?
I thought about all of that again yesterday, as I was driving home from the Sunday meeting. Our corps officer is currently preaching a series about the cross, its purpose and impact in the context of every day life, leading up to Easter. Against the backdrop of the first verses of Romans 6, we considered the reality and significance of grace.
What struck me was this: we can so easily take God’s grace for granted. It’s like we carry around this gift card and every once in a while pull it out to clear the tab of sin in our lives. Not all the time, of course. Wouldn’t want to waste it on some petty sin, right? (That’d be like buying a small drip coffee when you could save the card to buy a huge frothy mocha thing with chocolate syrup and sprinkles on top). Or we just keep it tucked in a drawer somewhere, until we can find time to get around to making a purchase. Or we forget about it entirely. And the point of the gift is lost.
God’s gift of grace is amazing. It is by God’s grace that we are spared having to pay the cost of sin out of our own pocket. It’s free to us, but it’s not cheap. It cost the price of a life! But its impact can last a lifetime!
Are you one of those people carrying around some unused gift cards? Spend them. Enjoy them! And when you do, remember the greatest gift you could ever receive doesn’t come on a plastic card!
Grace to you!