I don’t want to boast or anything, but I make a mean batch of chocolate chip cookies. Ever since I learned the secret of adding a box of instant vanilla pudding to the dough, my cookies have been nice and soft, even a day or two later, if any happen to make it that long. I don’t claim to be an amateur chef like my brother, who even has his own food blog (The Cordial Chef, in case you’re interested), but I make good food for my family, and especially those chocolate chip cookies. So a number of years ago when we had new neighbors move in across the street, I whipped up a batch of my cookies and took them over as a welcoming gift. The wife made a comment about how soft they were, and I proudly let her in on my little secret. Then her husband informed me that since his mother burned everything while he was growing up, he got used to burned cookies and actually preferred them. Oh. Um, thank you?
Has anything like that ever happened to you? Have you ever given a gift, perhaps even one you were genuinely excited about, only to have the recipient make some thoughtless comment, or even a complete rejection of your gift? Maybe you worked really hard to make a gift for a loved one, only to have them open it and say, “You could have just given a gift card.” Even if it wasn’t so blatant, perhaps the gift you worked hard to make only merited a glance from the recipient and a casual, “Hmm, thanks.” And let’s be honest, folks. That hurts, doesn’t it? It’s a slap in the face when someone rejects a gift, especially one you worked hard to find or make.
Let me tell you about another gift. It comes from Jesus. It’s not something you asked for, either. In fact, had it been up to you, you wouldn’t have asked for anything at all. But Jesus loves you so much He gave it freely, of His own accord. It’s called forgiveness. He knows there was no possible way you could ever have repaid the debt you owed because of your sin. So He came down to this earth as a human being, lived a perfect life in your place, and then He died for you. That’s how much His gift to you cost Him. His entire life. He didn’t stay dead, mind you. He rose three days later to assure you that He’s defeated death for you. His gift is forgiveness and life eternal. And not just for you but for everyone else on the face of this earth. What an amazing gift!
But sadly, not everyone sees this as a wonderful gift. Some people flatly reject the gift. They think they don’t need it, or that it’s just a fairy tale, or some such excuse. Do not underestimate how dangerous this is. John 3:36 tells us that “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him” Ouch. This is far more serious than a slap in the face to Jesus, who gave His very life. Rejecting that gift has a deadly cost- one’s eternal salvation. Believing in Jesus leads to life eternal with Him. Rejecting Jesus leads only to death. Eternal death. In hell. Those who reject Jesus on this earth finally get what they want when they die- an eternity without Him. And that’s tragic. The gift is yours. He gives it freely. There’s no need to reject it.
For the record, the couple I spoke of in the opening paragraph became good friends of ours. The husband hadn’t meant any harm by his comment to me about my cookies. And there are truly no hard feelings on my part. The story serves merely as an example. But the gifts of forgiveness and salvation offered by Jesus are no trifling matter. Tell everyone you can about those amazing gifts. They are worth far more and last far longer than any other gift on this earth- even a mean batch of chocolate chip cookies.