Recently, I was asked to prepare a short devotional message for those attending an upcoming luncheon at our church for a group of half-way house ladies. It would be a mixed crowd of women. Some would know Jesus well and others would not really care much about the whole topic of religion. I prayed for direction concerning the message God wanted to present to them and a God-idea began to formulate.
The center piece on each table would be a silver tray (or facsimile thereof) upon a low pedestal. A small box wrapped in shimmering, jewel toned paper with a delicate bow would sit upon each slightly raised tray. Each intriguing, wrapped box would contain a precious-looking “jewel”. (In this case, based on my small budget, a lookalike would have to do.) The name of each person seated at the table would be attached to a box. So, we have right in front of each person, a beautiful gift box with her name on it. Will she take it? It has her name. Would you, if your name there?
My message would be based on two verses: 1 Corinthians 2:9 and Romans 5:18. It would begin with a general greeting and a welcome. A little humor always sets people at ease. Then I would begin explaining just how marvelously Jesus loves each and every one of us. I would tell them how He freely–of His own accord–died on the cross to take each person’s sin upon Himself in order to pay the debt associated with sin’s consequences. And after that debt for sin was paid, He rose again to offer to all–young or old, rich or poor, plump or skinny, pretty or plain, employed or laid off, popular or not so very popular, the free gift of eternal life. A heavenly life free of pain and tears and full of love, joy, peace and beauty.
I would read verses associated with the blessings of Jesus’ work on the cross allowing Him to stamp the debt “PAID IN FULL FOR (write in your name)”. (Ephesians 2:8) At this point, I would have one of our table leaders pass around an invoice (created especially for this event/group) with a stamp that read paid in full. Each individual at the table would personally stamp her invoice.
Then I would stress, again, the fact that it was done free of charge and offered free of charge. We each have to purposefully reach out and take the free gift that is offered to us by Jesus’ atonement made on the cross over 2,000 years ago. Then I would ask, “Who took the gift with your name on it already? Jesus stands holding out salvation to each and every individual. It is yours for the taking. It is never too late while you still have breath. If you haven’t taken your gift yet, take it and open it up.”
As the ladies find the “jewel” inside, I would let them know that they are like a precious jewel to our Lord. He loves them and has created facets within each individual that reflect the various aspects of His presence within them. He handles each life perfectly well and without mistakes. Then I will ask for those wanting Jesus’ free gift of forgiveness and eternal life to follow my lead in a sinner’s prayer.
Have you reached out to receive the free gift Jesus offers to you? When will you if you haven’t? Now is a perfectly acceptable time. Don’t waste another minute trying to decide.