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serving jesus christ the king

July’s Verse

“I give them eternal life and they shall never perish” – John 10:28

Sometimes a verse is so clear that it doesn’t really need much explanation. This is one of those verses. No word is hard, no concept is difficult to grasp. Yet this verse sums up all that is hard about Christianity.

Those opening words “I give”—we have a love-hate relationship with gifts. Often we love to get them, but only if we feel we deserve them, as if we have already earned it. Birthday gifts are ok, thank you gifts are grand, Christmas—we’ve earned those by what we give in return. But the gift that comes out of nowhere, undeserved, unasked for, makes us feel uneasy. Have you found that—we splutter, “You can’t possibly… I can’t allow you to pay…” or we make a mental note to find a way to pay them back.

Accepting gifts is hard work. Why is that?

I think it boils down to pride. We don’t like to feel obligated to someone, and we like to think we have earned whatever we receive.

Both these are deadly. Not so much when it comes to presents and gifts here—although it can be a little irksome. You know the person who can’t take something without having to respond with a gift. It defeats the purpose a bit.

But it becomes serious when it comes to what Jesus is offering. Here is a gift that we can’t make a contribution to. It has to be all gift. We can never earn or deserve it. To do our best to earn it doesn’t only defeat the purpose a bit, it defeats the purpose entirely and renders this gift ineffective.

We just have to accept, and that takes humility and a measure of desperation. I say ‘desperation’ because it takes us to have reached a point where we grasp that we really, really need this gift—like a patient needs a bone marrow transplant. The urgency comes out in the closing words of this verse—this gift saves us from perishing.

And what makes it all the more wonderful is that the giver guarantees the effectiveness of the gift.

“I give them eternal life and they shall never perish” – John 10:28