Pastor Larson’s Corner: The Gospel

Pastor Larsons Corner

I am always looking for opportunities to teach my grandchildren about the Gospel. Last week my two youngest grandchildren came up to the lake to help me put the dock in. When they arrived, I gave each of them a check. They were surprised and asked me why I would give them money before they did anything? I said, “I gave you the money because I love and care about you.” Then I said, “I suspect that you will help me out while you’re here because you care about me and love and appreciate this place.” As it turned out, they worked harder and longer than they ever had in the past.

Later that night I explained to them that the Gospel works in a similar way to what they had experienced that day. God gives us life as well as the promise of forgiveness and eternal life as a free gift. Then, in response to these wonderful gifts, with gratitude and thankfulness in our hearts, we love and serve God. I told them that God’s acts of love and grace towards us always come first. The life we live and the good deeds we do are done out of gratitude and thankfulness for all that we have been given. This truth Christians call the Gospel.

The world in which my grandchildren live operates very differently from the Gospel. They have learned that in the real world you have to earn what you receive. They have learned that everything has its price and that you get what you pay for. In this kind of world, it becomes very difficult to teach young people the Gospel. Perhaps helping them see that everything they have in this life comes from their loving God, as a free gift, will help them live ever more fully in the joy of the Gospel.

Pastor Larson’s Corner is written by Jerry Larson and appears weekly in the Norwegian American Weekly.

Pastor Jerry Larson retired to his cabin in Zimmerman, Minn., after 39 years in parish ministry for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. In 2011 he published a book entitled “Speaking the Word Freely: Writing with purpose, preaching with power.” Contact him at

This article originally appeared in the April 8, 2016, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly.

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The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.