Word for Word 11/8/23

Last month, October 8, we had our Pumpkins in the Park event at Waukon City Park. We had a great day with beautiful weather, fun activities, and about 300 people from the community in attendance.

A special thank you to all those who came to the event and to all those who made the event possible including many of our local businesses for donating door prizes for this community event. We have a great community! We are already looking forward to next year!

As I welcomed people to Pumpkins in the Park, a woman came up to me and pulled out her wallet. She said, “How much do I owe you?” I said, “Nothing! This is a free event. We want to give you a pumpkin.” “Really?” she said. “Wow. Thank you so much!”

I understood this woman’s response because I feel the same way when someone - especially a stranger - gives me something for free. It is a complete shock. Why would you give this to me? I didn’t do anything for you, I don’t deserve it.

We live in a world where everything costs you something whether that be your time, money, or talents. We tend to follow the basic principle: this, for that. I’ll give you this, you give me that. So when we get something for free, we are taken aback. It surprises us!

God surprises us. God’s ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:9). The Lord works and deals with us in ways so different from what we commonly expect or for that matter, deserve. This is why the Gospel - the good news - is so hard for us to understand. God offers us the forgiveness of our sins and eternal salvation as a free gift. He did this because he loves us. It was the only way we could be saved.

No matter how hard we work to please God, obey his law, and follow Him, we can’t earn our salvation. We are sinners who deserve God’s punishment. But God had mercy.

“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:17).

Our Lord Jesus saved us by doing the work for us - living a perfect life and taking our sins to the cross. He did the work, but he gives the prize to us. Paul puts it this way, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

We come to church every Sunday because that is where we receive the treasures of the cross - God’s gifts of forgiveness and life. A free pumpkin is great, but the free gift we have in Jesus is heavenly! This gift is preached every Sunday at King of Grace Lutheran Church at 9 a.m. We’ll save you a seat.

Pastor Abraham Faugstad
King of Grace Lutheran Church ELS, Waukon and Trinity Lutheran Churches