For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. John 3:16 (NRSV)
I do not recall many of the day-to-day experiences of attending kindergarten at Second Presbyterian Church in Union, South Carolina, but I have some special memories. One was my teacher Mrs. Gettys. Another was being cast as the man who fell among thieves on the road to Jericho and later receiving the attention and care of the Good Samaritan. And the other was a gold painted cardboard crown that is now worn and wrinkled, but carefully kept with other memorabilia of my childhood.
All of the kindergartners received gold cardboard crowns, but we earned the jeweled stars that adorned them. Each star represented a Bible verse or passage that we committed to memory. Some of the stars were for Psalms like the 23rd and the 100th that we memorized. Other stars were for New Testament passages and one I vividly remember was for John 3:16.
While I have gotten rid of a number of childhood possessions, I hold onto that gold cardboard crown and memories of those halcyon days. I truly treasure that jewel of the scriptures. I don’t recall for certain whether it was the first jeweled star I earned for the gold cardboard crown or not. What I do know is that I could never earn the gift God has chosen to bestow on all those who believe in Jesus! A marvelous aspect of eternal life is that it begins when we believe. We don’t have to wait to claim that gift at our death! God so loved the world (and that includes me) that He gave His only Son (Jesus) so that everyone (the best of saints to the worst of sinners) who believes (nothing more than simply trusting) in Him may not perish (die) but may have eternal (unending) life.
Lover of the world, we thank You for the gift of Your Son, Jesus. We thank You that all who believe in Him receive the gift of eternal life. Help us to share this Good News with others. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.