But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.
Kids will be roaming our neighborhoods this afternoon. Some will be in costume. Others won’t. Families will be standing by as trick-or-treating takes place from door to door. Old friends will reunite, and strangers will exchange pleasantries. Wherever you stand on this annual experience, Halloween festivities are going to happen. And free candy will be everywhere for the taking.
Guess what isn’t going to happen? Children, dressed up or not, won’t be asked to put a quarter in a bowl or put on a show to offset the price of fun-size chocolate bars. (I know, as soon as I point this out, someone is going to consider setting up a pay-to-play trick-or-treat system on their front porch. Please don’t!) And why not? Because free needs to stay free, even though, and especially because, free is at someone else’s expense.
Titus 3:4-5 lays out the crux of what salvation is all about. God—through His overflowing kindness, love, and mercy in action—freely rescues anyone who surrenders their life to Jesus Christ. In other words, if we show up on the Lord’s doorstep, we don’t have to provide or prove anything to receive His 100% fully paid for, freely given gift of saving grace. As a result, God’s daily invitation for the saved, those spiritually alive in Christ, is to increasingly demonstrate His kindness and love.
I’m not saying salvation and free candy are on the same level, but a parallel is right in front of our eyes if we’re open to seeing it. Put yourself in the shoes of kids as they trick-or-treat from house to house. Their whole bodies come to life when people like you put godly kindness into loving compassionate action. Handing out tiny treats or sharing snacks is a small way to reflect God’s eternal generosity, not just a nicety that a debatable holiday says you should do.
In response to Titus 3:4-5, you and I can grow in giving freely from our hearts starting this afternoon. Welcoming people on our doorsteps can be training ground to not just be nice for niceness’ sake. Rather, giving out free candy can be a launching pad for the Holy Spirit to overflow more of God’s grace through us to others.
Team up with a friend or neighbor to love on people this afternoon or this weekend. Invite neighbors over for free candy, free chili, free cocoa, or whatever will mean the most as you grow in pouring out God’s kindness, love, and mercy in practical ways.