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No Deposit, No Return

He has identified us as his own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first installment that guarantees everything he has promised us.  2 Corinthians 1:22 NLT

They lay alongside the roadside, waiting for someone to pick them up and return them.

Before manufactures of soda packaged their product in aluminum or plastic, they placed it glass. And on the bottle, they stamped the words, “Return for Deposit.” Retailers, and then customers, who bought the product paid a small deposit—three to five cents. If customers returned the bottle to any retailer, the retailer would return the deposit to them.

My cousin, who lived in the country, always looked for ways to make money. When I spent time with him during the summers, I joined in his escapades. One involved picking up bottles. From his house to the nearest small town was one mile. He took one side of the road, and I took the other. By the time, we reached town, both of us had found a few bottles. We took them to Bert’s farm store, and he gave us five cents per bottle.

For various reasons, bottle production almost faded away, and aluminum and plastic took over. Some manufacturers later returned to putting a limited amount of their product in bottles, but the “Return for Deposit” was missing. Now, the bottles say “No Deposit No Return.” The best I can do is recycle them.

Manufacturing companies stamped their names on their products so the bottle got back to the right place. According to Paul, God does the same. When we trust Christ as our Savior, God places an identifying mark in us: the Holy Spirit. He’s a person and a part of the Holy Trinity, along with the Father and the Son.

The good news is that God won’t take back what He’s deposited, such as retailers and manufacturers once did. In the Old Testament, God gave His Spirit intermittently, when He had a special job for someone to do. But after Pentecost and the birth of the Church, God gave the Spirit permanently to His children.

Great advantages come with having God’s Spirit: perfect guidance for all circumstances, perfect wisdom for every decision, strength for any mission God sends us on, perfect peace—regardless of the pain or dire straits we encounter—and life as we could never experience if we didn’t have the Spirit.

Don’t waste the value of what God has deposited in you. Let the power of God’s Spirit lead you to the life He has planned for you.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)


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Martin Wiles


Martin Wiles lives in Greenwood, SC, and is the founder of Love Lines from God. He is a freelance editor, English teacher, pastor, and author who has been published in numerous publications. He also serves as Managing Editor for Christian Devotions and as a proof editor for Courier Publishing. He is the author of five books, and his next book, A Whisper in the Woods: Quiet Escapades in a Busy World, in under contract with Ambassador International for release in December, 2019. He and his wife are parents of two and grandparents of three. He can be contacted at [email protected].