The Billionaire Gift


In 2019 multi-billionaire CEO Robert F. Smith delivered the main address to the graduates of Morehouse College. In the video, it appears to be going about as well as any other graduation speech. Most of the students look dutifully attentive to his words but more than ready to receive their degrees and let the celebration begin. But Robert Smith did something unexpected that gained the attention of the audience. 

Robert Smith announced that he was paying off the student loans of all 396 graduates. 

The faces of those in attendance go from “I can’t wait for this to be over” to “I can’t believe this is happening.”

I think that we would all love to be the beneficiaries of an unexpected, undeserved, lavish, life-changing gift. Wouldn’t it be nice for someone to suddenly agree to pay off your mortgage or to cover your bills for the rest of your life? That kind of gift would undoubtedly be a reason for celebration.

But we have been given an incredible gift.

Paul begins the Book of Ephesians with the celebration of an undeserved, lavish gift from God. In response to what God has given, Paul calls for his readers to bless the giver.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.

Ephesians 1:3

Bless God for a secure gift.

Robert Smith co-signed on all of the student loans and secured them with his enormous wealth.

The gift of salvation that God has given us has been secured “in the heavenly places.” “In the heavenly places” means that it is secured by God’s authority and by His unrivaled power. The heavenly places are holy places, unstained by sin and unthreatened by evil. We should celebrate the security of God’s gift of salvation.

Bless God for an undeserved gift

Robert Smith chose to lavish the class of 2019 with an incredible gift, not because they were better than the class of 2018 or because they had a higher GPA than the class of 2020. Robert Smith gave them his gift out of his kindness and as an act of unmerited favor.

Ephesians 1:4 says that God chose us to be blessed in Jesus Christ before the foundation of the world. Why? It’s because he loved us. 

Imagine how insulting it would have been in the middle of the celebration of Robert Smith’s gift if one of the students had refused it. Imagine how ungrateful it would be for one of those young men to shout out, “Thanks, but no thanks, I’d rather try it on my own.”

Imagine how much more infinitely foolish and depraved it is for the sinner to refuse God’s love and grace given to us in Jesus Christ.

Bless God for His relational gift.

Robert Smith influenced the futures of 390 graduates with his gift, but he did not give them access to his bank accounts. He did not include them in his will. He did not become their father, nor did he take them home.

God didn’t just gift us, he adopted us (1:5). He didn’t just give us a new life; He made us His children. He gave us access, an inheritance, and a forever future with Him.

Wouldn’t it be nice for someone to suddenly, unexpectedly, undeservedly lavish you with an incredible gift? 

Someone has. God has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places!

The 2019 class of Morehouse College celebrated Robert Smith’s gift. Deservedly so. It changed their lives. HOW MUCH MORE should we celebrate the greatest gift of all that has changed our lives for eternity! Bless God today because He has blessed us with every spiritual blessing!

Bible Study and Challenge

Read Ephesians 1:1-14.

  • Make a list of all we have been given “in Jesus Christ.” Celebrate each of those things.
  • What does this passage teach about the character of God?
  • How does this passage call for you to pray today?

Take some money in your purse or wallet (maybe $5, $10, $20 or more) and set it aside as a gift. Ask God to lay on your heart someone to bless. You may have to pray about this for several days, maybe even weeks. Just let the Holy Spirit lead. Use the opportunity to tell them that God laid it on your heart and that God loves them. Share the gospel with them.

Reflect on the joy your small gift brings. Meditate on the joy that God has given us through Jesus Christ.


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