The 12 year-old girl who lives next door grew an abundant crop of pumpkins this year.

Now this particular girl is quite kindhearted, and she wishes to share them--for free! It was with this spirit that she offered me--someone who has done nothing to deserve such a gift--two pumpkins back in early September. The problem was, we were leaving on a 3-week trip in just a few days, and there wasn't any way we could use two pumpkins before our departure. I was forced to turn down her kind offer, but the look of disappointment on her face touched my heart.

"You can freeze them, then they will keep," she suggested, and I almost hated myself for my next words: "But I don't have time to process them for freezing."

She left then, but you can imagine my surprise when she returned an hour later with two pumpkins'-worth of pumpkin flesh in one bag, and their seeds in another! I accepted her gift with a smile and a huge "thank you"!

As I think about this kind deed of the neighbour girl, I realize how important it is to her to share her pumpkins. It is, in fact, so important to her that she is willing to sacrifice of her time for someone who is undeserving of her kind gift. It makes me think about another "kind deed" that has been bestowed, not just upon me and my immediate neighbours, but to all of mankind: Jesus' loving sacrifice on the cross.

Jesus' gift was at extensive personal cost. He gave up Heaven and the presence of His Father to live on this earth, surrounded by sin, unappreciated, unloved, unaccepted, resigned to endure extensive physical suffering: "Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal's death on a cross." (Phil. 2:6-8 NLT).

Why did He do this? It was all in the name of love: "For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16 NLT).

In order for me to have those beautiful pumpkins grown by my neighbour's daughter, I had to accept her gift. In the same way, all we have to do to access forgiveness from sin is to accept Jesus' Sacrifice: "But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God." (John 1:12 NLT).

The problem is, just like I didn't immediately accept the pumpkins, we don't tend to readily accept Jesus' Salvation. Oh, I did have a good reason for not immediately taking the pumpkins, and we think we have a good reason for not accepting Jesus as well. The one I hear most often is this: "I'm not worthy of such a wonderful gift. I'm too big of a sinner!"...Yet the Bible says: "For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people." (Titus 2:11 NLT).

Although we know cognitively that Salvation is for everyone, it is so hard for us to understand how the Almighty, perfect God can love sinners like us, people who have so little faith.

Think about it however: It was the desire of my neighbour's daughter to give me a gift of her pumpkins. In fact, she was willing to sacrifice of her time and effort to cut up two of them so that I could have her pumpkins despite my trip. How sad she would have been if, after all that effort, I had continued to refuse them.

And if I do something for someone that results in personal cost, how could I possibly want to withhold that gift from them, even if they are undeserving?

Jesus' sacrifice was the ultimate in personal loss, and He gave it out of love so that we can be saved. How could He possibly withhold that gift for any reason?

If you feel unworthy of Jesus' sacrifice, you are in good company. We are all unworthy, for the Bible teaches that it was while we were all still God's enemies that Jesus died for us: "For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son." (Romans 5:10 NLT).

Remember that I was also unworthy of my neighbour girl's sacrifice when she prepared the pumpkin for the freezer for me; nonetheless, she did it because she wanted to share her pumpkins.

In a much greater way, Jesus wants to share His sacrifice with us, no matter how bad we have been, for: "...He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent." (2 Peter 3:9 NLT).

If Jesus wants to give us this gift so very badly, let's not disappoint Him. Our worthiness is completely irrelevant to this picture, for our worthiness wasn't in His equation when He gave Himself as the supreme sacrifice for our sin. So whether we feel worthy or not, let's reach out to Him, let's accept His gift. It will make Him so happy.

I'm really enjoying the frozen pumpkin. It is so convenient to throw into muffin and dessert recipes! In a much more important way, you will never regret your decision to accept His unconditional gift.

In His love,
Lyn



Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.