Sidewalk-chalk Sermon

Children bring to life their surroundings.

I love watching kids ride circles endlessly on their bikes around the cul-de-sac. I’m tickled when our basketball hoop gets lots of attention and I enjoy the late night squeals of kids on a trampoline. Today, I smiled when I saw chalk had decorated a driveway and adjacent sidewalk as I walked down the street. Reluctant to tread on the artistic renditions, I stepped to walk on the side as I passed. Then I slowed and finally stopped to take it in.

The word popping off the concrete was GRACE.

My little kindergarten neighbor was probably just enjoying writing her name, but it ministered to me in that moment, calling to mind Ephesians 2:

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
— Ephesians 2:8-10 ESV (emphasis added)

Paul reminds us that our salvation is a gift of grace — unmerited favor — not the result of anything we do to achieve it through our effort or work. And while I know this to be true, in our American ‘if you want it, earn it’ culture, I subconsciously fall prey to thinking there’s still something I must do to be worthy of it or to repay it. I find myself striving and working for my salvation without even realizing it.

It is already done: my salvation has been purchased by another at a steep price and given generously and freely to me. For me to strive and work means that I’m no longer walking in grace. Works have a place in the Christian life; after all, God prepared them for us to do. But our works have no place in salvation:

But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.
— Romans 11:6 ESV

These colorful letters against the gray backdrop playfully reminded me that I walk in grace.

I loved that it was written over and over again. With every step I took, I was reminded of of the unmerited favor God has given me in Christ. My walk — my work — is merely a response of gratitude. Those words brought me life afresh. I pray they do so for you, too.

Walk in grace, my friend.

We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death,
in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead
by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

— Romans 6:4 ESV

Please share!
    • Hester Christensen

      Great post Kirsten,

      I especially like, “Works have a place in the Christian life; after all, God prepared them for us to do. But our works have no place in salvation.” Such a good reminder as I too often get it backwards.

      God bless you sister, Hester ;)

      • Kirsten

        It’s easy to forget, isn’t it, Hester? It’s comforting to know I’m not the only one, so thanks for your comment.

    • Susan Stilwell

      Good one, Kirsten. I like the image of our lives being a response of gratitude. So true. Reminds me of Col 3:23 – it’s all for Him!

      Hugs from VA,

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