Here is how the rest of the conversation between myself and Mr. Levine went:
Mr. Levine: Wait (now reaching for the basket and card) maybe it was meant for me...Levine is my
name and we do know Mr. & Mrs. John Doe. (significantly more likeable at this point)
Me: Yes sir.
Mr. Levine: Well that's really nice, to get a New Year gift. (hint of a smile now)
Me: Yes sir, and you didn't even have to have surgery to get it. (handing over the basket and the card)
Mr. Levine: Yeah, no surgery. (big smile)
Me: Have a sweet and happy new year Mr. Levine, shalom...(walking away)
Mr. Levine: (still standing staring at the basket and card) Yeah, thank you.
So why did he make it so hard, why did he almost give up the gift? Two things come to mind. Mr. Levine didn't understand the purpose of the gift or the motive of the giver. Let's consider the gift first.
He wasn't expecting anything. He was sure his neighbor was. She had a greater need (recovery). He imagined, "my need is not as great." So, because he misunderstood the gift he almost missed it. Secondly he misunderstood the motive of the giver.
I could be wrong, but it seemed to me that part of Mr. Levine's reluctance was because he imagined that he was gonna owe someone something for this gift that wasn't even his. Nobody gives anything away was the message I got from him. Now for the application.
I wonder how many people reject the cross because they either don't understand the gift or the motive of the giver...or both?
Be assured of this, the cross has no greater purpose than to make you "right" or innocent before a Holy God. Jesus died in your place that you might be redeemed, purchased, from slavery to sin, to freedom in Him.
Be assured of this as well, the giver, God Himself, is motivated by His great love for you. There is no hidden agenda, no trick. You don't have to be good enough, have the right last name or belong to a certain church. His goal is an eternal, personal love relationship with you...His child.
The choice is yours and it is simple. Accept WHAT has been done for you and WHY He did it for you or reject it and in so doing commit to an eternity apart from the one who loves you more than any other.