As a kid, did you ever get something for your birthday that you didn’t really want, but in the end, it was the most useful of all?
One year, I got underwear for my birthday. Yep, undies. At least the person who gave the gift had the decency to give it in private and not present it to me in front of all my pre-teen friends. That year I also received a friendship bracelet and ring and some other stuff that was so important to me that I can not now recall what it was. The bracelet and ring rusted and I’m not longer in contact with the person who gave it to me. (So much for “Best Friends Forever”.) But the underwear got used. A lot. I wore it until the elastic separated from the rest and even wore it after that. (And washed it in between).
What’s my point? Sometimes the best gifts of all are the ones that may not seem like it at the time we receive them. I got far more use out of a necessary item than I did the frivolous accessories.
In John 6, the Jews get disgruntled over the gift Jesus has presented to them – eternal life.
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst… For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” So the Jews grumbled about him, because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.”
John 6:35, 40-41 (ESV)
Now, I’m not comparing eternal life to underwear, but the idea is similar (and you’re less likely to forget!). Jesus offered a wonderful gift. A useful gift. A lasting gift. But the Jews would have none of it. They had only followed Jesus because he had fed five thousand men plus women and children the day before. They wanted eternal free food. Instead, Jesus offered them eternal life and they got mad.
Take a look a the gifts you’ve received. Go through the Bible and see what God has promised you. Are all His promises (which in him, are yes and amen according to 2 Corinthians 1:20) not worth more than having your immediate needs fulfilled right now? Yes, God wants us to live full and prosperous lives on earth, but don’t go looking for the temporary gifts at the cost of the greatest eternal one.
Daily Bible reading: 2 Kings 18-19; John 6:22-44