Have you ever known, or known of, someone who was on a certain road to death and then by one action was delivered from death? Can you imagine the roller coaster of emotions they experienced? I have seen a TV story of a man whose heart was about to stop because of irreversible damage and then he received a heart transplant. The report showed two families meeting for the first time. I saw the mixture of sorrow and joy on a mother’s face as she listened through a stethoscope to the steady heartbeat of her deceased son inside another person’s chest. And I watched as the recipient hugged and thanked the family with great, joyful gratitude for the gift of life that he had received.
Those same emotions are also seen in Psalm 116 where the psalmist, standing before the congregation, testifies emotionally of being encompassed by the “snares of death” and facing the “terrors of the grave.” His language is strong and emotional as he describes how he faced what looked like certain death. But then he says, “I called upon the Lord saying, ‘save my life, O Lord” (v 4). And he heard me and “delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling” (v 8). Then the psalmist asked, “what can I do out of gratitude to Yahweh, in return for all his kindness to me?” (v 12).
Immediately, he says, “I will take the cup of salvation, and call on Yahweh’s name. I will give back to Yahweh what I promised, in front of all his people” (Vss 13-14, N.T. Wright translation in Paul for Everyone, 2 Corinthians, 48).
As redeemed and resurrection people who have been saved from eternal death, how can we express our gratitude? We too can take the cup of salvation that represents how Jesus Christ has given us the gift of life, and we can give back to the Lord through the stewardship of our talents and treasure what we vowed in our baptism to give him. So let us take the cup of salvation and fulfill our vows to the Lord.