I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. 7 Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. 8 For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. 9 I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. 11 And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. 13 But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.[a] 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them[b] in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sake I consecrate myself,[c] that they also may be sanctified[d] in truth.
Teach me to believe I am a gift and not a burden. Teach me to see myself as yours and your delight, not as a problem that needed to be solved. Teach me to know my worth is beyond how I perceive myself, beyond what I accomplish, beyond any position or place I may hold. Teach me to see others whom you have given to Jesus as gifts and not burdens, as people to delight in and not problems to solve. Teach me to count their worth according to how you perceive them and not my arbitrary values and metrics. Teach me this through Christ. Amen.
Were you a child who would look through the Sears/ToysRUs/Myer Christmas toy catalogue and mark the things you most desired? Would you leave it open to certain pages in order to give hints to those who might be purchasing gifts for you? Did you anticipate the day, whether Christmas Eve or day, that you would receive your gifts with joy and celebration? Were you disappointed after opening them? Satisfied?
In the TV show Monk detective Monk would say of his OCD, which enabled him to be a very astute detective, “It’s a gift and a curse.” My perspective is that Jesus could say the same thing about His disciples and followers. “They are a gift and a curse.” We are given to Jesus from the Father (see vs 6). We are a gift. The disciples were slow to understand what Jesus was doing and saying. They would bicker among themselves. They would position themselves to receive honor. A gift and a curse.
In saying this I know that many of us just see the curse part. We see ourselves and wonder why God would save us. Listen to Christ’s prayer. We are a gift. We are beloved. We have been given to Jesus by the Father who had us completely. We are the people of His possession. He is our God and He gives us as a gift to Jesus. And Jesus takes us as that gift.
When we know we are gifts, we can begin to see others as gifts. Think of the people in your lives, both the easy people and hard people, and praise God for them as a gift to you. Praise God for how they are a gift because of how the Father has uniquely crafted them.