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Bible Reading: Romans 3:27-28

Can we boast, then, that we have done anything to be accepted by God? No, because our acquittal is not based on our good deeds. It is based on our faith. Romans 3:27

Way back before anyone you know was born—from 1508 to 1512 to be exact—the brilliant Italian painter, sculptor, architect, and poet Michelangelo lay on his back decorating the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome. He painted nine scenes from the book of Genesis, including the creation of Adam, the creation of Eve, the temptation and fall of Adam and Eve, and the Flood.

When it comes to world class art, Michelangelo is the man. But here’s a mouthful you would never hear from Michelangelo: “I take all the credit for my beautiful art. Every piece of my artwork—my famous sculpture of David, my scenes on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, and my work as an architect on the stunning church of St. Pe­ter’s Basilica in Rome-I did it all myself. I didn’t get a bit of help from anyone.” You won’t find those words in any history book-because Michelangelo never said them.

Lots of us like to tell people about big stuff we do. You don’t have to listen long on the ball field or at recess or in the classroom to hear big-time bragging going on. Maybe “Once I kicked a soccer ball so hard it popped!” or “I can beat you across the monkey bars!” or “My dad has a semitrailer full of gold!”

But most people whose accomplishments are truly great admit that they’re only partly responsible for their success. Often they give God the credit for their ability, brains, or talent. Late in his life, for example, Michelangelo wrote, “I believe that I have been designated for this work by God…. I work out of love for God and I put all my hope in him.”

When you accomplish something great—big or small—whom do you pat on the back? Giving credit where credit is due starts with admitting that your skills really come from God. If he hadn’t created you and gifted you with all sorts of talents, you could accomplish nothing.

And when it comes to the gift of forgiveness, you really had nothing to do with it. You didn’t create it, earn it, buy it, win it, or think it up. It wasn’t your idea. It’s not your work of art. Forgiveness is something your loving God did for you. He gives it to you as a totally free gift.

TALK: How have you said thanks to God for sending Jesus to die on the cross for you?

PRAY: God, you deserve all the credit for all the things we can do. And we give you all the credit for giving us your forgiveness.

ACT: Give someone some help today—no strings attached.


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