Custom-Made Salvation

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I have always been a hopeless tinkerer—a weekend warrior—so from the time our daughters were very young, they were my helpers. Over the years, my girls came alongside. And they became very good at it. Working together became fun together. One of the things they would tell you today about their help with my projects was their work as “go-fors” . . . “gophers” in the vernacular. While I was standing on a step ladder or neatly tucked under the bathroom sink, it was such a luxury to have them retrieve just the right tool for me. Early in their lives, they learned how to identify a pipe wrench, a caulking gun, a framing square, a chalk line, or a cat’s paw. I taught them that even though you can use a hammer to drive a screw, it’s always best to use a screwdriver—the right, custom-made tool for the job.

In John 4, Jesus had an interesting encounter with a woman drawing water from a well. As their conversation unfolded, Jesus helped this woman to understand that her problem was a sensual one; she was a veteran of five husbands and was living with a man to whom she wasn’t married.  “Sensual” would have been the understatement of the day.

So when Jesus offered this woman hope in a package she’d understand. He offered her “living water” to permanently quench her thirst for sensuous passion. He used just the right words, the right understanding . . . the right “tool” for the job.

In the chapter before this story, Jesus was engaged in a late-night conversation with a Pharisee named Nicodemus. Here was a man who was proud of his lineage and heritage—to the point of vanity. Jesus told this man that he needed to be “born again.” Here was another custom-made solution to fit a specific need.

When the rich man came to Jesus looking for another arrow for his bulging quiver of spirituality, Jesus told him to sell everything and follow him. He didn’t offer the man living water or tell him that he needed to be born again; Jesus custom-fit his recommendation to the man’s particular compulsion.

Now, I have a question for you. If Jesus were to join you for lunch today, and if He were to custom-make His presentation of hope and salvation to you, what would He say? What would He propose? . . . friendship for your loneliness, hope for your sagging heart, clean thoughts for your tortured brain, rest for your exhaustion, order for the chaos, or comfort for your fear?

Whatever it is for you, God is already ready to make you an offer. He knows exactly what you needed yesterday . . . what you need today . . . and what you’ll need tomorrow. God always uses just the right tool for the job.

The offer of His salvation is custom-made. For you and for me.