Monday, December 14, 2015
Gift cards aren't for everyone, but Jesus is
I work at a large hospital, and am a contracted employee. Although I work at the hospital and have to follow their rules and regulations, I actually work for Allied Barton Security. The hospital, which has 4000 employees...... including contracted ones, has something they do every year: they give free flu shots, and if at least 75% of employees get the flu shot; they are given a $25 Giant Eagle gift card (grocery store chain in this area). The cards are given out at the free Christmas dinner that is held in the cafeteria every year, which even contracted employees are eligible for. Last year, we were informed that we security guards were not getting the gift cards since we are contracted, even though we are included in the 75% of employees who got the goal required to get gift cards.
So last Thursday the dinner was held. I went through the line and got all of my food, then went over to the cash registers to have my badge scanned. One lady scanned me and looked at a laptop. She said to the other lady "OK, he's good", and handed me a gift card. I was surprised, but figured they had changed their policy. I knew of at least one person who was thinking about talking to the CEO about us not getting one.
I sat down at a table with six other people, and began eating and chatting. After about 10-15 minutes, one of the ladies who had scanned my badge came over and asked if I was Mark. I said I was, and she told me their system messed up and I was not one of the people who was supposed to get a gift card; and that she needed it back. I passed it over, feeling embarrassment and irritation; as several people overheard what had happened. The news traveled fast, and I have had several people tell me how uncouth and unfair it was; especially to take it back in front of so many people. A friend of mine in housekeeping even complained to the CEO of the hospital about it.
It was embarrassing, and I feel it could have been handled better. However, as I have thought about what happened, my mind went to Christmas and Jesus. And this thought came to me: Not everyone gets a gift card at the hospital, but everyone can have Jesus.
Unlike my Calvinist friends, I believe John 3:16 means what it says: That God loved the whole world, and that whosoever believes in Jesus can have eternal life..... not just who God feels like offering redemption to.
I have been left out of a lot in life, and will be left out of a lot more in the days and years to come. Hospital gift cards are not the first thing, nor will it be the last. There are organizations I would not be allowed to join or be part of, because I do not meet the right requirements. There are buildings I cannot enter, I can't even join my own church because I wouldn't agree to a few things......
But anyone can come to Jesus......even me. As the old hymn says, "Jesus loves even me", and 2000 plus years ago; He came for me. He died on a cross..... for me. And He offered salvation, grace, mercy, and forgiveness...... to me.
So what is a measly gift card compared to Jesus and what He has done for me? Given a choice, I''d take Jesus over any gift card. That incident will be forgotten, and is already not that big of a deal to me; but what Jesus did for me will never not be a big deal. Nor will it fade from memory.