If you ever buy something for your kids which can be launched or fired, it’s a good idea to give them a safe target. Otherwise, they will make their own — and it might cost you. A little boy visiting his grandparents wanted to try out his new slingshot. Then he saw Grandma’s pet duck in her backyard. He didn’t want to kill it. He just wanted to have a little fun. But when he took aim, he hit the duck squarely in the head and it fell dead. In panic, he hid the dead bird in the wood pile and went back inside the house.

After lunch that day, Grandma said, “Sally, let’s wash the dishes.” Sally whispered to her brother, “I saw you kill that duck this morning.”

Johnny volunteered, “Oh, that’s okay, Grandma. I’ll do the dishes.”

When dinner came, Sally turned and whispered to her brother, “Remember the duck.” So once again, Johnny caved and did his sister’s work.

In the morning, Grandma asked Sally to help with breakfast. She promptly turned to Johnny and said, “Quack, quack.”

Johnny couldn’t take the abuse any longer. Right then he confessed to his grandmother that he had killed her pet duck. She surprised him when she said, “I know. I saw the whole thing. I was wondering how long you would let your sister blackmail you.”

The duck of works is dead, Christian. Instead of trying to revive it or repackage it, we need to let it rest. The message of grace ought to be the heartbeat of our lives, influencing our evangelism and inspiring our service for Christ. We have two major responsibilities as Christians: 1. to protect the grace message from the slightest taint of works, and 2. to appreciate Christ’s finished payment. This demands a jealous concern for the purity of the gospel, for the gospel is a message of life and freedom. The dead duck of works will only put people in bondage.

The duck of works is dead. Proclaim the life-giving, liberating message of grace today.

Click here to learn how the gospel of grace can set the lost free.

Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.