Just a drop, and maybe not even that - part three


Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”“Tell me, teacher,” he said.
 “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii,and the other fifty. 
Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?” 

Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.” “You have judged correctly,” Jesus said. - Luke 7:40-43

What an extraordinary question Jesus asked Simon. Now I would think Jesus would be more interested in asking Simon who received the greater gift or would be the most appreciative of what they received. Those are fairly obvious questions to me because they would require me to discern the value of the gift in light of who was receiving it. I mean, who would not want to be forgiven of a debt of 50 or 500 days wages? I would enjoy that. But Jesus goes deeper than that and reveals the character of his Father.

God gives me gifts for me to enjoy and does this to capture my heart. He wants me (commands me) to love him. Why? Is he sitting up there pining for my acceptance and frowns as though diminished somehow if he does not receive it? Hardly. No, he simply wants what's best for me and just like a hammer is at its best when it is striking a nail on the head, I am at my best when I love God and hate everything else. We've already established that the gifts that God gives are not an end unto themselves and that the proper focus when God gives me gifts is on him as the Giver. But now we see another dimension to God's gift giving. His motive.

God never give gifts as an end in and of themselves. Not that I can see anyway. No, his gifts cannot help but reflect his divine attributes and cannot help but reveal the extent of his love for me. I see God as the perfect gift giver. It does not matter if he forgave one man 50 years' wages and another 500. There are no gifts that God gives that can be rated 9 and others that are a 3 or 4. God gives gifts that are perfect 10's because they are all a perfect reflection of his love. He did not love the one person less than the other although the love that was returned to him was greater with the greater gift for sure. Both were the recipients of unmerited favor from God born out of his great love.

So we know that the true gift is the gift of love that motivates the giving of the things that we receive. But there is still another truth to unlock in all of this and it lies in yet another purpose of the gift that he gives. But more on that later.

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