At fifteen years old my daughter wanted a cell phone more than anything. All her friends had one, her older sister had one, it seemed to her that everyone but her had a cell phone. So she began hinting around about what kind of device she would like if she were to get one. After all, her birthday was coming up and times were changing. In her mind, she shouldn’t have to wait until she was driving to have a phone.
I knew she wanted a phone, I also knew she was kind of expecting to get one for her birthday. In order to try to head off disappointment I told her regularly that she would not be getting a cell phone, but still, on her birthday after all the gifts were opened she looked around in anticipation waiting for a final surprise gift.
Again I told her that she did not get a phone. Dejected she asked me why and my response was, “I am not going to give you a gift that I have to keep giving you every month.”
This morning I found myself thinking on these words. For me, paying the bill every month meant giving her that birthday gift over and over again – every month. It would mean that her gift became my responsibility.
As a parent of a teenager this makes sense. But could you imagine if this was how God looked at the gift He has given us? The gift of eternal life. He doesn’t feel obligated to give us this gift, in fact, I believe it is quite the opposite. Even when we are going astray and not following His voice I have confidence that He is still filled with joy that He can give us this gift of the promise of everlasting life.
In John 10 when Jesus is talking of the Shepherd and his flock and the Jews begin to question Jesus’ Christ-hood He replies with this.
My sheep listen to my voice, I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one. John 10:27-30
What an amazing gift. What an honor to be a part of Jesus’ flock forever. The great shepherd who loves us so much that He gave His life for His flock. What greater gift can one even fathom?
And it is a gift that keeps on giving. Forever.