When I was a child I was given a gift. It was the most beautiful package I had ever seen. The wrapping was elaborate and I’d heard that it had been perfectly, lovingly designed with me in mind. The gift-giver was very wealthy and I knew that this gift had been very expensive to purchase. I was so delighted it had been given to me and at the promise that it would always be mine. Those around me who had been given a gift like mine said “Just take it, it belongs to you! Having this gift is all you will ever need!”
So throughout childhood and into adulthood, I took this gift with me everywhere! I ate with it, slept with it, took it to school, took it to work – it never left me. But being human, after a while I paid less and less attention to it. It was there, but had lost its lustre in my eyes. I was happy that I still had it, yet I wondered why it had lost its attraction.
Sometimes my gift was set on the cluttered shelves, or placed on the dirty floors. I tried to keep it out of the messes I made, but it seemed to be collecting a lot of dust and the wrapping was spotted with stains. This wonderful gift was supposed to be a joy to me, it was supposed to make my life beautiful as well – all I would ever need! What’s wrong with my gift? Maybe I didn’t even deserve to have it! The thought of facing the gift-giver was painful, so I avoided an encounter.
Then one day the inevitable happens, and I am face-to-face with the gift-giver. I am ashamed that I haven’t been worthy of the expensive gift, that I haven’t taken better care of it. I admit, I don’t know what to do with this gift. I know I should, but I don’t. I stutter to make promises that I will do better, but the gift-giver stops me from speaking. I hang my head as the gift-giver speaks.
“I have known you all your life. I designed this expensive gift just for you and it delighted me to give it to you. I’ve tried to get your attention, to let you know what to do with it, but there were many voices in your ear and you didn’t hear me. I reassure you, it does belong to you. It will never be taken away from you. But you must OPEN it! The beautiful, elaborate wrapping is only a part of the gift I purchased – there is so much more for you to have and enjoy!! With this gift from my heart of love, I not only made you my own child, I gave you a peace that will pass understanding. I gave you joy that is indescribable. I gave you a safe place to run to when life is hard. I gave you strength to overcome the difficulties that come your way. I gave you wisdom and understanding. You just have to look into this gift and you will find it all! Lift your head, I love you. Let me show you what I’ve given you!!”
I’ve never known anyone who received a gift that didn’t immediately open it to see what all it contained! Ok, some people take their time and loose every piece of tape one by one, but the goal is still to unveil what is inside the wrapping. Usually we dig in the box, turning over every piece to make sure we’ve gotten everything out. How frustrating would it be to give someone a gift that they never opened all the way, never took what you paid a great price to give them!!
God has given us the greatest gift of all, salvation, purchased with a priceless sacrifice, Jesus. He made us His own through His magnificent love and is even now preparing our place in heaven. If heaven was all that was in the gift, it would be enough. But there’s more!! He wants us to “open” Jesus, to look through His word and find out all that He purchased for us. Jesus said “I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance – to the full, till it overflows!” (John 10:10).
Ready to dig??