The Greatest Gift

 •  2 min. read  •  grade level: 9
It was holiday time, and an open-air preacher had gathered a large crowd around him as he told the old old story of God's love and Christ's death, and the willingness of the risen Savior to save all who come to God by Him.
A chimney sweep who was on the fringes of the crowd thought: Wouldn't it be a good joke to march right through that ring of eager listeners and cause a commotion, and stop that preacher?
No sooner thought than acted on. Straightening himself up, with his sooty brushes and his soot-black clothes the chimney sweep made ready for the charge. Soon the men and women would be scattering in all directions! Just as he reached the edge of the crowd the preacher's eye caught sight of him and at once guessed his plan. Quickly whispering a prayer to God for help, he shouted to the sweep, "GOD HAD ONLY ONE SON, AND HE GAVE HIM UP FOR SINNERS!"
"What's that?" exclaimed the sweep, forgetting for the moment his plan of campaign.
With all his force the soul-winner again shouted the wonderful words, "GOD HAD ONLY ONE SON, AND HE GAVE HIM UP FOR SINNERS!"
Amazed and awestruck at the unexpected turn in events, and with the crowd collecting to hear the dialog between the sweeper of chimneys and the seeker of souls, the intruder once more asked, "Say those words again, for they are new to me!"
Again with glad heart the preacher added to the words and cried, "GOD HAD ONLY ONE SON, AND YET HE SO LOVED THE WORLD THAT HE GAVE HIM UP TO THE DEATH OF THE CROSS FOR SINNERS!"
"Well," the sweep exclaimed, "these are the most wonderful words I ever heard. I have five big boys at home, and I wouldn't give the worst of the five for the best man who ever lived. Yet you tell me that GOD ONLY HAD ONE SON, AND HE GAVE HIM UP FOR A SINNER LIKE ME!"
Instead of the sweep's splitting up the open-air meeting, God opened up the sweep's heart and let in the glad and glorious message, and for many years the converted sweep lived to tell to all around what a dear Savior he had found.
Upon a life I did not live,
Upon a death I did not die,
Another's life, Another's death,
I stake my whole eternity.