Some Kind of Gift!
It's not because I just became a grandfather that I am thinking about gifts. (Okay, maybe there is some connection.) But can you remember some of the best gifts you ever gave? How about the best gift you ever received? Giving is a big part of most people's lives. Let me use that as a starting point.
We recently had an amazing thing happen in our church. One of the women in our church had a genetic condition that caused her kidneys to fail. A while back, she began a regular schedule for dialysis and was placed on a list for a kidney donation. As you may know, being on the list for a donation can mean months or even years of waiting because so many criteria must be met to find a proper match. In the meantime, she asked the church and other friends to pray for her health and especially for a donor for a kidney. A lot of people prayed because this woman is a really nice lady with a very big need.
As people prayed, it just so happened that another woman in our church felt that God was impressing her to get tested as a potential donor. What are the odds that someone in our church would actually be a match? Actually, I don't know what the odds are, but they are really high against it happening. (You know where this is going, don't you?) After multiple tests and several delays, it was determined that out of all the people offering to be donors, the woman in our church was the best match. (Do you think God chuckles when we realize that he has orchestrated something like that? I think he does ... with a big smile on his face.) It was an amazing thing that this huge need was met with such an unbelievable gift! [Note: both the donor and recipient are doing great!] Honestly, I cannot imagine what it would take to give that kind of gift, can you?
Now let me "spiritualize" this a bit. When I think about the kind of need and gift described just now, my mind goes beyond that to something even bigger. You see, each of us has a terminal condition because we are sinners (Romans 3:23) and the ultimate result of sin is spiritual death (Romans 6:23). There is no vaccine to prevent us from becoming sinners and no earthly cure to keep us from dying because of our sin. We are hopeless by nature! But God had a special plan and a unique "donor" that can do something for us—his Son. More than just being a donor, Jesus would have to become a sacrifice—give his life—for us. In the case of the woman in our church who made the donation, I imagine that one of the things that helped her make the commitment was the fact that the woman in need was also a very nice lady. But what were we that Jesus would make such a sacrifice for us? Let me just quote from Romans 5:6-8 [emphasis added]:
6) For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.
7) For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die.
8) But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Do you get what he is saying? We are the opposite of nice and deserving and, even if we were, who would actually die for us? But Jesus, the Son of God, did! He took our sin on himself and paid for it in full; in return gave us his righteousness (see 2 Corinthians 5:21)! That is some kind of love and gift.
Have you received God's offer of salvation? If so, are you living in a way that reflects the magnitude of the gift you have received ... and the One who gave it to you? If not, now would be a great time to start!
Scripture taken from the New American Standard Bible® 1995 by The Lockman Foundation