Many of us are familiar with the Scripture John 3:16.
We can recite it without looking at our Bible,
but how often do we think about what that verse means?
When we look at the words, we get a better understanding of its message.
These aren’t just words to memorize.
God wants us to feel them deep in our soul.
He desires for us to get the message that His is a sacrificial love.
After over 40 years of knowing God,
I still can’t get my head around the depth of His love for me.
I believe that’s the way God meant it to be.
If it was something we could easily understand, I believe God knows we wouldn’t think about it that much.
It wouldn’t challenge us to reach out for it.
Theologians spend their lives studying verses like these.
But when you are alone trying to figure out where your life is heading,
wouldn’t you prefer to make the message of John 3:16 a personal one?
Before you go to the commentaries let God speak to you about how its meaning becomes real for you.
Ask yourself questions like these: How does the passage I’m reading apply to me?
What does it say to my heart? How does God, how does this Jesus born as a baby in Bethlehem, speak to the circumstances I’m going through?
These are tough times for many.
Companies are laying off thousands of employees.
Food banks are stretched past their capacity.
Wages aren’t keeping pace with the rising cost of living.
The costs of food, gas, and housing are soaring.
As of October this year the average rent in Timmins, Ontario, Canada, for a 2-bedroom apartment increased by 1% to $1,445. 1
That’s the city in northern Ontario, Karen and I live in.
That doesn’t include heat or hydro.
That would be about $300 more.
Before paying for food, a phone and internet that’s approximately $1,750 monthly.
“As of December 10, 2022, the average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment in Toronto, Ontario is $2,299.This is a 26% increase compared to the previous year.” 2
Add around $400 for heat and hydro. That would be about $2,700 a month before anything for food.
There is a dwindling middle class.
But imagine if you owned the most expensive tea pot in the world.
Wouldn’t that be a way to a better life?
Value of “The Egoist” teapot
If you owned “The Egoist” teapot, did you know it’s valued at $3,000,000?
“Officially certified by the Guinness Book of Records, “The Egoist” is the most valuable teapot in the world at $3 million dollars. Designed by British billionaire Nirmal Sethia and crafted by Milanese jeweller Scavia the teapot is embellished with 1,658 D and E colour grade diamonds and 386 rubies, with a central 6.67 carat Thai ruby”.3
Grade D and E diamonds are very valuable.
A close family member comes over to visit you.
The family member sees your Egoist teapot. Of course, you would never own the most valuable teapot in the world.
You got “The Egoist” teapot from a billionaire. He died. He left it to you in his will.
You were his personal assistant.
The family member sees the teapot glistening as the sun shines on it.
The family member says to you in a longing voice, “I’d sure like to have a teapot like that one.”
Would you be willing to give it to the relative?
Would you make that sacrifice of your teapot?
I’ll be honest.
I don’t think I would.
I’d probably sell it to the highest bidder at an auction.
Think how selling the teapot would change your life.
You could get out of that small bachelor apartment you’re living in for you and your wife.
You could buy a home. You could have a Big Screen TV in your living room. You could stay in luxury hotels. You could eat gourmet meals. You could take your wife on a world-wide luxury cruise. You could show her the Louvre Museum in Paris, and tour the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City.
For something completely different, you both could watch kangaroos hopping in the Australian outback.
You could buy designer clothes.
You would still save a lot of money, which you could put into wise investments with the help of a financial planner.
You are left with a decision.
You can either keep “The Egoist” teapot as a keepsake, give it to your family member or sell it.
How many of us would love our family member enough to say, “Here. It’s yours?”
Wouldn’t that be extravagant love to give your family member that one of a kind teapot?
Let’s go back to John 3:16.
God loved you so much that He gave His one and only Son for you.
After many years, I still don’t understand all that gift means.
How could I?
I’m a sinner saved by grace.
Karen doesn’t deserve the gift of salvation.
None of us do.
But it’s offered in love.
How can any of us put a monetary value on a gift like that?
It’s a present out of this world.
It comes from God in Heaven.
It’s value far surpasses that of “The Egoist” teapot.
Think of how you would feel if that teapot broke?
It’s the only asset you have.
Without it, you’e poor.
You earn a modest income, but not enough to save anything.
This is your lottery ticket out of all your financial worries.
You’d be a fool not to sell it. Wouldn’t you?
Think about the value God puts on your life.
He gave His one and only Son for you.
God had only one son to give.
He didn’t have two, three, four or more sons.
Would you be willing to give your one and only son to die, so that millions of lives would be saved?
That son can’t be duplicated.
There’s no geneticist who can make a son like yours.
It may be entertaining to watch movies like Multiplicity that have a plot line about cloning,
but it’s not real.
What does God require to receive the most precious gift He has to offer?
It’s simple when you think about it.
The second part of John 3:16 gives us the answer.
Believe in Jesus.
To receive the gift of salvation God simply asks that we accept that Christ died for our sins.
We say we’re sinners.
We then say we are saved by what?
It’s an undeserved gift.
Who is the gift of salvation for?
God loves all of us.
Do you think you’re worth someone dying for you?
God thinks you’re more than worth it.
This holiday season you have a choice.
What do you put the most value in?
Is it things or love?
Computers, smart TVS and your stereo system will eventually stop working.
The warranty on them will expire.
But the gift of God’s love, Christ’s love offered to you has an eternal warranty.
It never ends.
That $3,000,000 Egoist teapot doesn’t beat that.
If it breaks you’re left with something of much less value.
You’ll only get a fraction of what it’s worth.
God’s love for you is an everlasting love.
When you die an eternity of being loved by God begins.
I’ll take that gift over anything the world has to offer.
Christ won’t force Himself on you.
He offers an invitation to accept His love.
His love may not change your circumstances, but it might change the way you look at them.
You may never be rich, but you’ll be richer inside for feeling God’s love beating in your soul.
I pray that if you haven’t received the gift of God’s love, you will. If you have, I pray you’ll feel the energy of that gift re-energize you.
We extend to you and your family and friends the hope for a Christmas season full of the joy of God’s presence in your lives.
Dr. Kevin Osborne is Dean of Psychology and President of Student Affairs for St. James the Elder University. He lives in Timmins, northern Ontario, Canada, with his wife, Karen. They are powned by their 20-year-old kitty, Her Royal Furriness, Princess Katherine of Timmins. In their leisure time they enjoy the company of friends. They like reading, writing, and cooking.