Once I was in a big church meeting when the pastor whipped out an illustration that dates back at least to evangelist D.L. Moody (1837-1899). “I’ve got a hundred dollar bill here. Who wants it?” he said holding up the greenback.
Hand shot up across the large congregation, especially in the front rows where lots of students had awakened from their morning stupor with the announcement.
He continued to talk as the front row guys and gals waved their arms, hoping to be chosen. At the same time, a young fellow from one side started to go towards the platform.
I kept one eye on him and one eye on the pastor to see what would happen. I wondered if the pastor would say, “Now, wait a minute,” and add some stipulations to the deal.
But the young man walked up onto the platform in front of all those curious eyes. The pastor interviewed the kid a bit, and then the fellow walked off the platform $100 richer.
I had expected the pastor to choose from among all those hands that flew up when he offered the money. But no, the young man ignored the others frantically waving their hands hoping to be chosen and claimed the prize.
Why didn’t he wait to be chosen? HE ALREADY WAS!
The pastor had said, “Who would like this $100 bill?” That described 99.9% of a very large audience. The young man and all the others in that large meeting were chosen by the question, “Who wants this money?”
Only one went to claim the prize, though.
Chosen but Frozen
The rest of us were chosen, desiring, waiting to see what would happen and just as poor, moneywise, when we left as when we came. One fellow was $100 richer because he was chosen and went to claim his C-note.
He got the prize because he trusted the word of the pastor. The preacher could have said, “Ha, ha! Gotcha! Back to your seat.” He could have added all kinds of stipulations, then said to the kid, “You don’t qualify. Back to your seat. Now, let’s see if we can find a more worthy recipient.”
Of course, I think the pastor might have been booed off the stage if he had done that.
I also suspect the kid walked up with such confidence because he had grown up in church and knew the illustration. That one must have been used 10,000 times over the years by various preachers (though, $100 shows the inflationary times we’re living in. The pastor might have figured that today’s college kid wouldn’t expend any energy to walk up and claim less than $100).
God has chosen you. Are you claiming your gift?
The Bible’s last altar call echoes God’s call to those who want forgiveness, a relationship with God, and eternal life: “The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come!’ Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.” (Rev. 22:17, NIV)
See, there it is for you and me. “Come!” We’ve been chosen. But look, we must “take” the free gift of the water of life. Wishing isn’t enough. Wanting isn’t enough. In a sense, being chosen only opens the door and gives us the right to go through. We’ve got to come and TAKE!
It’s the same for all of God’s promises. “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” (Luke 11:10, 11 KJV)
So many promises. You know what you need. You know what God’s Word says. Do you dare take it?
Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay