The other evening while at a dinner with friends, our hosts told us how they acquired their friendly golden lab, Bud.
Bud showed up at their house one day, carrying a bone in his mouth and about 20 ticks on his body. The family felt sorry for this poor dog.
After several days, they realized the dog wasn’t leaving, so they took him to a vet to learn about his health and get him cleaned up.
Bud behaved well, but it was obvious he had not been treated well in the past.
He seemed shy about sleeping in the garage. When his family said goodnight, he looked at them as if to say, "Are you sure? You don’t want me outside, rather than warm and dry in here?"
When Bud received a pillow on which to sleep, he looked at his family as if to say, "Are you sure? This is for me?” The family said, "It’s for you! It’s okay! Go ahead and sleep on it."
They placed a stuffed toy before him and Bud just looked at it. He seemed to not know what to do with it. Once again, he looked at his family as if to say, "Are you sure? This is for me? To keep? To play with?" The family said, "It’s for you! It’s okay! Go ahead and play with it. It’s all yours!"
Now, he carries that toy everywhere.
Bud transformed. He received new life. Before he met this family, he had very little to call his own. He received a warm place to sleep, a bed, a toy, food and water.
More importantly, he received the love and care of those who welcomed him into their home. He did nothing to earn it.
We have been given the same kind of opportunity as Bud.
We have received the gift of new life in Jesus Christ. We might think we don’t deserve it because of the way we have been treated in life.
But Jesus continuously reiterates we are worthy of his love.
We are worthy of new life.
We are worthy of the kindness and generosity that come only from him.
Jesus says, "It’s for you."
And indeed it is.
The Rev. Mark Broadhead is Laurel Hill Presbyterian Church and First Presbyterian Church of Crestview’s pastor.