by Adam Kronberger / Superintendent
My older brother is a successful hunting and fishing guide in Alaska. I have had multiple opportunities to experience memorable trips with him. This past summer my son Justus and I spent a week on a backcountry fishing trip. Every aspect of the trip was paid for by my brother as a gift. My only responsibility was to make my way up to Anchorage on the correct date. As we are practically twins when it comes to body type, he also shares with me all of the necessary gear and apparel necessary to make such a trip successful.
Naturally, when I arrive in Alaska, I want to do as much as I can to pay him back. As we run the final errands in preparation, I constantly badger him to allow me to pick up the tab. His response is always, “Adam, it’s easier if I just take care of it.” Whether it be the floatplane costs, tackle for fishing, or a simple Gatorade for the flight, my brother insisted on just adding it to his tab. I think he probably got annoyed by my constant insistence to help out. But the combination of his generosity and pre-programmed way of paying for things was a gift in so many ways.
Our relationship with God often functions in a very similar way. First, we accept the payment for our sins by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, and choose to surrender our lives to him. Then the adventure begins, and the cost has already been paid for. Still at times we feel compelled to somehow contribute to our salvation. We might feel that we need to perform especially well or follow certain rules to somehow feel we earned it. But those actions are all in vain, as the work at the cross is complete and confirmed.
Still, what should our response be to the amazing gift of grace through salvation? When I was on my fishing trip, each evening we would pull over from our river float and set up camp. Both paying clients and freeloader brothers like me worked together to set up camp. We put together tents and assembled cots while the guides prepared our evening meal. Even though the trip was paid in full, the success of the trip was held together by the gracious efforts of each team member.
In the same way, God has called each of us to contribute to the redemption of all of creation. Timothy Keller writes, “the ultimate purpose of redemption is not to escape the material world, but to renew it.” The most impossible work has already been taken care of by Jesus. And as those around us arrive at the dead ends the world ultimately provides, Jesus’ redemptive work should be noticeable in our lives and readily available. This month’s character trait is creativity. May God give each of us new perspectives as we respond to His work on the cross and participate with God in transforming the world to reflect his righteousness.
– Adam Kronberger / Superintendent