...God So Loved that He Gave (February, 2023)
We usually think of February as the love month. Why? …Because of Valentine’s Day. I purchase Robert that special card expressing my strong love for him. I choose one of his favorite candies for him to find on Valentine’s morning. I start early in getting the grandchildren their favorite candies, as well. Why do I do these things? I want to express my love for each of them. I love them so much that I want to give a gift that I think would bring them great joy.
I remember when I was in the 6th grade, and my mother’s birthday was quickly approaching. I didn’t have any money, but I wanted to get her something special. What could I do? I received $2.50 every week for my school lunches. I decided I would save that money each week in order to get her a gift. I spent 10 cents on bus fare to downtown Knoxville and found mother a beautiful, blue housecoat for $15 at a department store. I put the housecoat in lay away. I was so excited about the present that I had for her.
There was a problem. I almost had the housecoat paid for when my school principal called mother. She told her that I wasn’t eating lunch and asked if there were problems in our home. Of course, mother was shocked. She approached me wanting to know why I wasn’t eating at school. I began to cry and told her that I was saving my money to purchase her a birthday present. She hugged me, and we cried together.
I owed around $2.00 on her gift. She told me that she never wanted me to go without lunch again and gave me the remaining monies to get it out of lay away. I wrapped her present in pretty paper, placed a bow on it, and added my homemade birthday card. I felt that I had given mother the best gift in all of the world. Going without a few lunches was a small deal in comparison to the great love that I had for her. I wanted to give her my best.
There was One Who truly gave us His best. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” No other verse in the Bible so succinctly summarizes God’s relationship with humanity and the way of salvation. Some consider John 3:16 as the "theme verse" for the entire Bible. It tells us of the love God has for us and the extent of that love—so great that He sacrificed His only Son on our behalf. This verse teaches us that anyone who believes in Jesus Christ, God’s Son, will be saved. It gives us the glorious hope of eternal life in heaven through the love of God and the death of His Son, Jesus Christ. God gave His best to you and me.
We read in Galatians 1:4, “Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” Many animal sacrifices had been made since Adam and Eve for the sins of the people. The blood shed from these animals only covered sins (atoned for them). Jesus was the One who shed His spotless blood to remove sin for everyone, if they would accept Him as Lord. “Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness [neither release from sin and its guilt, nor cancellation of the merited punishment}” (Hebrews 9:22 Amp.). God offered His Son (His Lamb) for the sins of all people. John 1:29 tells us, “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”
Notice: God so loved that He gave. We, the born- again of God, have the nature of our Father. We love, so we give. We may give time to the lonely, food to the hungry, clothes to the needy, and help to the elderly. We may volunteer to help in our churches. We give our tithes and offerings. We give the plan of salvation to others.
We read in John 13:34, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” “Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:18). We read in 1 John 4:11, “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” Do we love? If we really do love, then we, too, will give.