Ever stop to think about gifts you've been given, and why they are important to you? There are many reasons why a gift might be important to you...let's look at a few.
#1: A gift might be from someone who is very special to you. With Valentine's Day right around the corner, this is a reason lots of people are thinking about. When you think about the gifts people receive for Valentines Day...roses, chocolates, jewelry, etc., they are rarely practical, and often not even all that expensive. And yet, when a girl gets her very first rose from a guy, she's likely to keep it on display until it's mostly wilted...then she'll press it and keep it forever (or at least until she breaks up with the guy!). It's not because the rose itself is so valuable...it's because it comes from someone who is very valuable to her.
#2: A gift might be life-changing. This was the case with the very first ventriloquist puppet I ever received. It was a Christmas gift from my parents when I was in sixth grade. None of us guessed at the time that this gift would result in me traveling not just around the state, but throughout New England and across the world. That gift really did change my life.
#3: A gift might be expensive. Obviously, if we receive a gift which costs a lot of money, we treat it very carefully, because we know that it is irreplaceable. I recently received a large gift which allowed me to refit my recording studio. I purchased a somewhat expensive studio microphone. Then last week I needed a sound system to take to our youth group's winter retreat. Do you think I took my new microphone? Oh, no! That one stayed safely at home. Why? Because it was costly, I was protecting it.
I think it's interesting that our salvation fits all three of these categories. It is a gift from someone who should be very precious to us: our Lord Jesus Christ. Why is he precious to us? Because of His great love for us. 1 John 4:19 gives us the reason for our love: because He loved us first.
Our salvation is also precious to us because it is life-changing. This is certainly true, although we don't always see the changes immediately. Jesus Christ promised us in John 10:10 that He had come not just to give us life (and that's pretty signifinant in itself!) but also to give us an abundant life. How precious should that gift be to us?
And, of course, the gift is a costly one. In 1 Peter 1:18 we are told that our salvation (redemption) was not purchased with something perishable (silver or gold) but with the precious blood of Jesus Christ. What a costly gift our salvation was! Jesus didn't reach into His pocket and pull out thirty pieces of silver to purchase my salvation...it was far more costly than that! He gave up everything to give me the most precious gift I will ever receive.
So the final question is...how do we treat this gift? 1 Peter 1:17 tells us that, because our redemption was such a costly gift, we are to conduct ourselves "with fear." Just as I would never risk damaging my expensive studio microphone by treating it carelessly, I should never treat my relationship with Jesus Christ in a careless manner!
It is the most precious thing I have in this life.