There are many things I’ll remember about September 25th, Gotcha Day, when we finally gained custody of our 2 beautiful Bulgarian girls, Lily and Mya. God has used this process and that special day to teach me many things, but 1 small unexpected thing that caught me off guard was how much God taught me about what He’s done for me. That 1 small, unexpected thing was a Jumbo bag. Jumbo is a store in Bulgaria, somewhat along the lines of our stores like Walmart, where you can buy lots of different things. The Jumbo bag was similar to the plastic bag you’d get when you checkout at a store here in America but a little larger. Why would a Jumbo bag mean so much to me? That cheap plastic bag contained all the possessions my 2 new daughters brought with them into our family. The bag contained a few articles of clothing, a few small toys and some pictures from their childhood. They had accumulated such a small amount of possessions in their lives. It would have seemed natural in that moment to think of that Jumbo bag and how we were rescuing them or how we could provide for them a much better life but, that’s not what God chose to put in my mind as I received this Jumbo bag.
It was in that moment as I received that Jumbo bag that thankfully God didn’t allow me to think highly of myself or what I was doing as much as what He’s done for me. In that moment, realizing the little bit of stuff the girls had, God reminded me that I was the same before Christ, before He adopted me into His family. The Bible speaks of adoption in a number of places. Multiple times, just like in the passage below in Galatians 4:4-7, it speaks to how God adopted us and as sons/daughters of Christ we are full heirs.
“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.” Galatians 4:4-7
I’m not sure what our girls thought when they entered our family that day. I’m not sure they had any concept of what it meant to be adopted into our family. I’m confident they didn’t understand what it meant to be a full heir, a daughter in my family. They brought that Jumbo bag, happy with what they had in life and not having a clue how little they had compared to us. Please don’t misunderstand any of this as bragging about how much we have…but consider how rich we are compared to 2 little girls who only have a Jumbo bag full of possessions. They couldn’t have understood that they’d go home and have their own beds, their own chest of drawers full of clothes, a room full of toys to play with, food where they could start putting on weight and growing…and the list goes on and on. They packed up their whole little life in that Jumbo bag. They felt loved and cared for in their foster family, but they had no idea what it was to be adopted and become full heirs.
Years ago, when I came to Christ, I thought I had a pretty good life. The possessions I had made me happy. The little life I’d built for myself by all appearances was pretty special. The reality is, before Christ, if I had a Jumbo bag full of stuff to present to God, I’d be surprised. When Christ called me to salvation, when He adopted me into His family, I didn’t have a clue what it really meant to be adopted by Christ, what it really meant to be a full heir in Christ’s kingdom. To be honest, I still don’t totally know what it means to be a full heir in God’s kingdom. When my dad passed away a few weeks ago, he got a better glimpse of what it is to be a full heir than any of us this side of heaven have experienced yet.
When we come to know Christ, we approach God with our little Jumbo bag of stuff that we’ve accumulated. Proud of ourselves and naïve to the reality of how little we really had. Then God adopts us into His family and our eyes are opened to a whole new world, a world where God is far richer and gives more generously than we could ever imagine. I’m not sure what God thinks when He sees His new child bringing their Jumbo bag of stuff to Him. I’m confident that when I brought my Jumbo bag of stuff to God, that just like my girls when we welcomed them into our family…I had no idea how much God had really done for me through His son Jesus and I had no idea how much more I instantly inherited by being a son or daughter of God. That Jumbo bag we offer God the Father, is not so jumbo after all!