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Here’s the NET Bible translation of today’s text:

11:35 Or who has first given to God, that God needs to repay him?

Today, I’m reflecting on a couple of things from the verse, which by the way is a quote from Job 41.

First is the word “first!” We never give to God first. “We love him because He loved us first.” [1 John 4:19] He is always the initiator and we are always the responder. Eph 1:4 says He chose us before the foundation of the world. That means that His love, grace, forgiveness, and free gift of eternal life were directed at us before we had done anything. He started it. All we can ever hope to do is in some puny measure return the favor.

Second, I’m noting that our passage doesn’t downplay the importance of serving God, it merely puts our attitude and motives in serving to God into perspective.

Third, I’m reflecting on the fact that we will always be indebted to Him and that He will never in any way be indebted to us. The billions of dollars worth of free grace He’s given us is insignificantly affected by the pennies’ worth of service we might offer Him.

That thought made me think of this question, “Should God ever say “thanks” for our service to Him? I think not. To illustrate: in our house, everyone of us has chores that we have to do. We’re not paid to do them nor are we ever thanked. Living in community requires that each family member pitch in to make the family system funtion. We’re not doing each other a favor, we’re merely doing our part.

Likewise, our service to God is not doing Him a favor, it’s merely doing our part–appropriately living a life of gratitude.