Friday, March 22, 2013

Your Greatest Gift...?

What is the greatest gift? The greatest gift you've ever received? The greatest gift you've ever given? Certainly for all believers the greatest gift we've ever received is the gift of Jesus. But what is it about that gift that makes it so great? Ok, that might seem like a really dumb question, but hang with me for a few...

That gift, that gift of Jesus means a lot of things...
  • It is a gift of forgiveness...that our sins will no longer be held against us. Huge! We deserve death but get life.
  • It is a gift of a future...that we have an incredible future awaiting us in heaven.
  • It is a gift of power...that because of Jesus, we now have an amazing power at work in us; (The Holy Spirit).
  • It is a gift of intimacy with God...that we now can have a direct conversation with the Creator of the Universe, is in-comprehensible.
  • It is a gift of value...our lives matter...they matter to Him. Let's camp on this one for a minute...
One of the things that we easily forget is this gift of value. I often imagine what life apart from Christ would be like. For me, at least, apart from Him, what's the point? There is no point. If there were no God, there would be very little (if anything) to live for. 

Bring it down even further...many people struggle with their identity. There are so many people who walk through life feeling lonely, or worse, worthless. This was one of the things that Jesus did so well...he came near to people, and gave them value. He was blind to the prejudices and judgments that often cloud our value systems...instead, he would come near to someone; a homeless person, a cripple, a tax collector, an adulterer, and He would look them in the eye and show them value.

A couple of weeks ago I was at Starbucks with my "almost 3 year old" son. There was one particular person who caught my eye; he was outside, in a wheelchair, wearing a "Desert Storm Veteran" hat. He looked cold, looked homeless (although I don't know), and so I bought him a cup of coffee and brought it out to him. That was the easy part. He then came inside to add cream and sugar and stuff, and that's when I heard God whispering to me; "Mike, what is easier? Buying him a cup of coffee, or engaging him in conversation?" So I put a video on my ipod for my son, and as this man filled up his coffee, I asked him one question, I think, about serving in Desert Storm. 30 minutes later, he was still sharing stories with me and it was so apparent that he was starved for community, and perhaps starved for a life that has value.

I share this story not to brag on myself, for I am far too often the one who goes through life "too busy" to stop and engage...but it did dawn on me how little effort it took on my part to help bring worth and value to someone who, in God's eyes, is every bit as worthy as I am. Jesus died for his life...and mine.

" 'Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?'
Jesus replied: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."