24/25 kids win the raffle?

Raffle Tickets

One year, the counselor at our school decided to call a school-wide assembly and give away prizes to the children with 100% attendance.  He had prizes of all kinds lined out along the stage and a bucket with the students’ names inside.  One by one, he called students to come up and pick from the plethora of prizes.

Over times, the prizes slimmed, and so did the kids who hadn’t won anything yet.  One by one, each child won something from the raffle until there were two children left and one prize.  Quite not on purpose, the counselor had 24 prizes donated and 25 students had gotten perfect attendance that quarter!!

Before the last name was drawn, the counselor promised to have a prize for the other student!

Can you imagine 24 out of 25 elementary students winning a prize–and a little kid being the one to miss out?  (He was only a kindergartener or first-grader!)  I still remember him sitting patiently, criss-cross, as every other student’s name was called for a prize.  (Happily, immediately after the raffle, he got to go down with the counselor, who found another prize in his office to give away!)

You know, sometimes I think we view God with the fear that we’re sitting in an assembly waiting on a raffle.  We wait on pins and needles to hear our name.  We’re afraid that we may be that 25th kid–the unlucky one, the one who misses out on Heaven.

God doesn’t leave our eternal destiny up to chance.  Rather, He gives each of us the opportunity to be fully confident in our salvation through Jesus Christ.  We don’t have a ‘ticket to eternity’ stuffed in a hat somewhere with a million other names, hoping God pulls ours out before He runs out of patience.  Rather, we have a God who paid for every single person who chooses to receive Him.  Salvation is a free gift up to Christ to give: and He’s chosen to give it to us all.  All that waits is whether or not we will choose to receive it.

There’s no 24 out of 25 here.  It’s all about choice.  Our choice.  God loved us so much that He gave us the choice: eternity with Him, or not.

Even the worst, most down-and-out, biggest loser of a sinner can have the same assurance as the ‘best saint’ when (s)he receives Christ.  Jesus has paid for all of our sin, no matter the amount.  Debt-free is debt free, whether you owed $60 dollars or $6 billion.

With Christ there is no arduous wait and nerve-wracking time hoping for salvation to be announced.  Salvation is here, and salvation is now.  With no raffle to be found.

“Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.” (Hebrews 3:15, NIV)


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