"Whoa!" Shawna exclaimed when she saw the pile of things her mother had laid out on the table. "Is Gracelynn getting all of that for her birthday?"
Mom nodded. "Grandma brought some of it over. She found a lot of things on sale, so your little niece is probably getting more than she needs. I offered to wrap Grandma's gifts for her."
Shawna sat down beside her mom. "Can I help?"
"You sure can," Mom replied.
Shawna chose a doll in a pink dress. She wrapped it in bright purple paper and tied a silver ribbon around the package. "There! That looks really pretty, doesn't it? But do you know what I like most about presents?"
"What's that?" Mom asked.
"What's inside them," said Shawna. "That's the best part of a present."
"I agree," said Mom, a thoughtful expression crossing her face. "P-r-e-s-e-n-t spells an interesting word. It can be pronounced present, which is another word for gift, or it can be present, which means to give."
Shawna laughed. "So when I give a gift, I present a present."
Mom nodded. "This makes me think of a verse in the Bible--one that tells us to present ourselves to God."
Shawna reached for more wrapping paper. "If we do that, are we making ourselves a present for Him?" she asked. "And if our lives are a present, we should make sure they're filled with good things, right?"
"Well, actually, we have nothing good in ourselves to offer God," Mom said. "We're saved by God's grace when we put our faith in Jesus. When God looks at us, He sees Christ's goodness, not our own."
"But the Bible tells us to do good things after we're saved, doesn't it?" asked Shawna.
"Yes," Mom said. "When we trust in Jesus, He gives us His Spirit so we can live the way He wants us to and serve Him."
Shawna held up the present she had just finished wrapping. "So it's not enough to just look good on the outside, like we're wrapped in pretty paper. When we present ourselves to Jesus, He makes us good on the inside. That's the kind of present God wants."
"That's right," said Mom. "It's what's inside that counts." Eunice C. MatchettHOW ABOUT YOU?
Has Jesus made you good on the inside? Or are you trying to make yourself look
good on your own? You have nothing good in yourself, but when you trust in Jesus as your Savior, He gives you His goodness and makes you a truly pleasing gift to God. (To learn more, click the "Good News!" button in the right column of this page.)
TODAY'S KEY VERSE: Romans 12:1 (KJV)
Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God.