Reflections: Tipping the scales

“Why are you doing your brother’s job,” asked Mom when she discovered her daughter vacuuming the hallway.

“Oh, he loves it when I do his chores,” said Ginger, “so if I make him happy I’m tipping the scales.”

“I’m sure he loves it when you do his chores for him,” chuckled Mom, “but what do you mean by tipping the scales?”

“It’s like that science experiment we did a while ago when we were comparing the weight of different metals,” said Ginger, “so I decided that if my good deeds outweigh anything bad, then I get into heaven.”

“How did you come to understand God that way,” asked Mom?

“That’s what my friends at school say,” said Ginger.

“The Bible never says that if our good deeds outweigh our bad deeds we get into heaven,” said Mom. “In fact, in Titus 3:5 it says that ‘he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done but because of his mercy.’ Does that make any sense?”

“I guess so,” said Ginger, “so if it’s God’s mercy that gets me into heaven, then I don’t need to do good deeds.”

“That’s true,” said Mom, “but not the whole story. You can’t earn a place in heaven, but in gratitude for God’s grace, you will want to do good deeds.”

“So,” said Ginger, “God did what is necessary so I’m in!!”

“Not exactly,” said Mom. “One needs to tell God that we accept His gift and then get to know him and learn what pleases him out of a thankful heart.”

“If God wants to give it to me,” said Ginger, “why do I need to tell him I would like it?”

“Let’s look at it this way,” said Mom. “If I bake a pan of brownies and tell you that you can have some if you come to the kitchen and ask, would you vacuum more and even clean the bathroom hoping to receive some brownies?”

“That would be silly,” said Ginger, “You said that I would get brownies only by walking to the kitchen and asking if I might have some.”

“It’s the same with God,” said Mom. “He offers forgiveness but we receive that forgiveness only when we ask him for it.”

“It makes sense when you say it that way,” said Ginger, “since just knowing brownies are in the kitchen doesn’t give them to me.”

“That’s good thinking,” said Mom. “In the same way, the only ones who will receive heaven are the ones who accept what is offered. I’m going to the kitchen to bake some brownies right now and if you want some, just come to the kitchen and ask.”

“That’s an offer I can’t refuse,” said Ginger, “and I think that I can’t refuse God’s offer to me any more either.”

“Let’s talk about it over warm brownies,” said Mom.

“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

Helen McCormack and her husband, David, are members of Wycliffe Bible Translators serving from their home in Minot.