It's a Gift
You know those movies where someone says they have an offer for another person and they write the offer on a piece of paper, fold it, and slide it across the table? It’s usually some outrageous amount, but we don’t usually hear what the exact number is. Do you realize God has done the same thing to you? He wrote it down on a piece of paper, but He also sent His only Son to deliver the outrageous amount. Jesus sacrificed Himself to give you a gift beyond words. On Easter we celebrate that we serve a risen Savior. Have you accepted that gift yet? Because, while the piece of paper is on the table, you have to pick it up and say yes before you actually get it. Even better, it is a free gift. All you have to do is say yes! We do not have to follow a list of expectations before we get to enjoy the benefits of the sacrifice Jesus made. Jesus told the criminal on the cross next to Him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43) That man didn’t have time to get to anything on the imaginary list. He hadn’t even lived a very good life before then considering he said he deserved to be on the cross.
That is grace.
The gift of Jesus as our Savior and Lord is offered, we accept, and that’s all that is required. But why would you stop there? The Creator of the universe offered you a gift. He made you, gave you life, and then gave you a second chance to spend eternity with Him in paradise. Why would you not want to tell everyone you know about that gift? Why would you not want to do everything He tells us will help us to be the people He wants us to be right now? Not that we have to earn the gift, but that we can be more loving, more gentle, more kind to the people around us. It’s like getting the perfect toy as a gift, as a child or as a child-like adult. 😁 You love it, it’s exactly what you asked for; why would you put it away and never look at it again? You play with that toy until it is worn out and keep talking about it when you’re not playing with it.
Some of us have an easy time believing this gift is offered to us, but a harder time believing other people should be offered it. Others of us have a hard time believing God is really saying nothing we have done in the past matters, and He is actually offering this incredible gift to us. We think we have too much baggage. We’ve done too much. But God is offering this free gift to everyone. And, more than that, He LOVES everyone! (John 3:16) Truly. Everyone. It’s kind of hard to wrap our heads around sometimes. We see how people around us offer conditional love, and how quickly it can vanish if we do something they don’t like. Unconditional love is rare, and those of us who have been abandoned in the past can have a hard time not constantly walking on eggshells, worried about stepping wrong and losing that love. But God is not human. When He says He loves us unconditionally, He means it. Read Psalm 103:8-12, or the whole chapter. He removes our sins from us as far as the east is from the west.
Sometimes it might seem easier to follow some kind of list. We want a “To Do” list that will tell us that we are doing all the right things. There is no checklist. Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” And “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-40) Do that. And while you are loving, remember to share the joy of the gift you have received.