We hear about gifted athletes, those with an extra dose of talent, drive or charisma. Their greatness is apparent in the way they play, often head and shoulders above the rest, going down as all-stars in the history of their sport.
If there’s a ping of jealousy, that’s normal. We all want to be extraordinarily gifted.
But, we must remember that we all may have been given different abilities, but God has gifted us individually. And, He offers us an even greater gift that goes with us in every aspect of our lives.
In John 3, we learn about this gift as Jesus shares with a man in search of something greater.
Nicodemus was a man gifted with intelligence, opportunity, wealth and status. A Pharisee high up in the religious ranks, he led many men in the ways of the Law of Moses. Proud of his pedigree and devout to God, he held to the long-lasting beliefs of his fathers.
When word that a young teacher, Jesus of Nazareth, was speaking all sorts of new thoughts of God and claiming to be God, his curiosity piqued. Something about this man sparked a longing in Nicodemus, and he had to know more.
One evening, he met with Jesus, quietly and privately, away from the prying eyes of his peers.
They begin to talk about being born again to see the Kingdom of God. “What does this mean?” Nicodemus wondered.
Jesus launched into predicting how the Son of Man must be lifted up to give eternal life, connecting Old Testament pictures of Moses with the Messiah.
“’For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.’” -John 3:16-17
In a world of works and rule keeping, this upside-down concept of a loving God gifting grace through a Savior seemed remarkable.
No rules, no performing? It’s not what we can offer, but what God is giving?
This is the crux on which the whole of humanity hinges.
The greater gift, the greatest gift, is God giving us eternal life with Him through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
Have you been relying on your own performance and the demands to keep up? Are they weighing you down?
It happens to all of us—we work and push ourselves to be the best we can be, thinking it will earn approval and acceptance. But in God, we are already accepted. We simply need to accept His love through the gift of Jesus.
It’s grace, plain and simple. The best gift of all.
“But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us—not by works of righteousness that we had done, but according to His mercy—through the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit. He poured out His Spirit on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior so that, having been justified by his grace, we may become heirs with the hope of eternal life.” -Titus 3:4-7
It’s nothing we do—no stat, scoreboard or success can earn us acceptance with God; it’s all given through Christ in an act of love and mercy. This gift alters our striving and lets us rest on the enduring love of God.
Nicodemus left his conversation with Jesus changed. We, too, can transform our lives into something wonderful when we receive the gift of Jesus.
Yes, your talents and skills are good. But God has given them to you to use them to share His love with your teammates, coaches, campus and community.