I am a gift-giver. It's how I like to show my appreciation for others. I get such joy out of finding or making the perfect gift for a friend or family member to show them how grateful I am for their presence in my life.
So this leaves me with a dilemma. Because there's this man that went to the cross for me, dying a horrendous death in my place. And now, I am counted a child of God by the pouring out of His blood when I was condemned to an eternity in Hell. I think that warrants more than a thank-you card. What in the world do I give the One who stood between me and the enemy and said, "Take me instead" ? What could I possibly do to show my gratitude to someone I can't see or touch? Well, in His Word, God solves my dilemma, and makes it clear how we can love Him.
"Then the King will say...'For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.' Then these righteous ones will reply, 'Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?' And the King will say, 'I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!'" Matthew 25: 34-40
I might not be able to look Jesus in the eyes and thank Him on this side of eternity, but I most certainly can love the ones the world condemns as unworthy. Of course it will be hard. We're stepping into battle with the one who wants nothing more than to keep our faith complacent and fruitless. Satan will use words of criticism to depress and distract us. He will try to make us doubt God's love and sovereignty by whispering lies in our times of weakness.
We will never make it if our motive for adoption is to 'do something good'. But by God's grace, we will look at the face of the precious orphan that will soon be our daughter and see Him. We will remember that, no matter the hardship or the cost, it will pale in comparison to the price He paid on our behalf. You see...we are all 'the least of these', in desperate need of a Savior. Realizing this truth enables us to love others -- even those who may never be able to give us anything in return.