By far my favorite Youtube video ever is this one from 2011, with only a little over 40,000 views. A guy living in Sydney, Australia turns 30 years old and instead of throwing a party for himself or receiving presents….he gathers his close friends and they purchase 30 gifts. They then set out on an epic plan to hand those 30 gifts out to random people that they see on the streets of Sydney.
They choose toddlers, old men, young women….literally no one is left out. No favortism. No hidden agenda. Just love. The faces of everyone that receives a gift is tremendously priceless. There is a look of shock, awe, frustration, and joy all at the same time. This is an exact depiction of the Gospel and our gift of Grace that Christ freely gives to us. Our human nature loves to receive gifts. To receive a gift without earning it or expecting it is at the apex of our eternal being. It transcends this inner joy in us that can only be triggered by grace. When this happens there is joy in that someone loves us despite our shortcomings and there is glory given to the gift-giver.
These people that received gifts in this video did not do anything to earn those gifts. They did not win a race or sing the best. They were not the smartest, tallest, most-handsome people. They did nothing. And most of all….it was not their birthday. It is an odd thing to receive a birthday gift on a day that is not your birthday. You most certainly do not deserve it.
In the book of John, Jesus constantly sets up for the correct understanding of salvation and grace. He’s going to say things like “No one comes to God unless it is through me” John 14:6 / “Salvation is like the wind, no one can grasp it in their hands…[I control the wind]” John 3:8. And he continues to play that same beat throughout the book and the rest of the Gospels.
We must always remember that we do not earn God’s favor. We do not come to faith on our own, say a sinner’s prayer, get baptized, and then think we’re golden. What a silly game we’ve invented. That’s what I was taught growing up and it’s just a silly religious game that causes a great amount of troubles. I grew up in the church doing religious activities….and was never even bothered by the fact that I knew no more of God than any unbeleiver on the street. It wasn’t until Christ gave me potluck doommates my junior year, that were on fire for the Lord, that he showed me the true meaning and joy in following him. That he began saving me and wooing me to Himself. And I love that. I treasure Christ for that. Jesus came to crush religion. He cares about our heart so much that He himself gives us a new heart so that we can have faith in Him and live a life according to the Gospel which leads to fullness of life.