Once someone unexpectedly gave me a birthday present, my first thought was, when is their birthday? Have I missed it? My reaction wasn’t gratitude but reciprocation. It seems to be a natural response to repay people for their kindness, but it’s also deeper than that. In my case, I actually don’t want to feel indebted to them. Yet, rather tellingly, I don’t feel the need to reciprocate if it’s my husband or children who unexpectedly give me a gift. My relationship with them is more intimate. I know their heart and their motive. I know they won’t take offence if I don’t respond in kind.
Likewise our relationship with God is to be on that level of intimacy where we know God’s heart towards us. When God gives us the gift of salvation he wants us to accept it the same way as we accept gifts from our loved ones.
He wants our response to be one of love and gratitude, knowing reciprocation is impossible.