Hurting Him
Off the Wall, April 2,

When we think of the word, “gift,” usually it’s associated with three events, Christmas, Valentine’s Day or birthdays. I realize there are other times people give these items as well. Maybe for engagements, baby showers or going-away parties do recipients excite, to some degree, in getting something of value which may be treasured.

But for those of us who are Christians, we were blessed with the greatest gift that man could ever receive, God’s blessing for us all, Jesus Christ. A matter of fact, we wouldn’t have been able to celebrate this last season of Christmas, with all the traditions and festivities, had it not been for our Savior being born at that time.

But, now we have moved on and can’t remember much about what we did, ate or wore during that wonderful season of the year. Instead, we have taken about yet another tradition that has long been associated with one of the greatest events that ever occurred, sacrifice. If one can remember back to February 18, many area residents received ashes on their foreheads. This served as a reminder that we are dust and dust we shall return. We then entered Lent.

It’s interesting, in my opinion, how entering the New Year and Lent have in common. At the beginning of the year, many individuals gave up certain habits as an act of renewal for better life styles. Sacrifice is the key to Lent, as well. Dedicating one’s time to prayer, penance and repentance were just some of the practices one incorporated during this very special time of the year.

While meditating on the word, “sacrifice,” a lot more came to mind over and above what many did or didn’t do when Lent began. The thought really pierced my heart when I viewed the crucifix up on my wall and began to tie Lent and Easter together. But beyond that, I thought back to creation and put the true picture together.

God created the universe, earth and everything in and on it. Part of what He so majestically put together was the human race, consisting of you and me. But, let’s not stop there. He formed us in His image. We were given the command to go forth and propagate, not for our own pleasures, but so that we could serve the One Who created us. It became apparent that He wanted a relationship with those whom he formed.

After the earth was populated, and man had either lived for God or to seek his own pleasures, something very special happened. He sent Jesus Christ into the world to save man from his sin. In so doing, He was able to establish the message that His Father is a loving God. If one does as I did previously, meditate on what is meant by the word, “gift,” there is no way one can truly appreciate how great this act was when Our Creator bestowed Christ upon us. Just think, if God hadn’t done this, we would possibly be wrapped up in the clutches of the devil.

Looking up again at the crucifix, how can one not be reminded that here was an innocent man nailed to the crossbeams of a wooden structure, tortured until His death for what? Hung beside other criminals, what was He doing there? I’m sure many could have several answers. But the truth of the matter comes down to this. If He hadn’t been hung on that cross, died, descended into hell and rose on the third day, God’s gift to mankind in form of a sacrifice, man would still be living in sin and his chances for salvation would be nil.

The very Gift that God introduced to His creation became a sacrifice to all mankind. The benefit of believing in this act is enormous. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him might have eternal life (John 3:16).

How, then, does one think Christ feels when He sees man walking away from Him, committing a sinful life and ignoring His outreach to save us? It must be hurting Him a great deal. There’s no amount of sacrifice we can do for another to grant the gift as great as salvation as our Redeemer did for us.

If one has walked away from God, He will lovingly welcome all back into the fold upon repentance. Thank Christ today for His death on the cross, and the gift of salvation.

- Paul J. Volkmann
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