“Congratulations, you’ve been selected to receive a fabulous gift set worth up to $5,000!” The messages used to come by mail emblazoned on shiny paper with pictures of exotic getaways and luxury vehicles. For a time, they were the stuff of golden-throated game show hosts via voice mail and answering machine messages. Lately, they’ve been relegated to the “Spam/Junk Mail” folder of my email provider. I’m sure by now I’ve eschewed millions of dollars worth of cash, prizes, and ultimate vacation packages.
One time curiosity did get the better of me. I answered the call, drove my young wife ninety minutes north, sat in an overcrowded hotel ballroom, and listened to the sales pitch. We were promised an all expenses paid seven-night adventure on the open seas that would take us to romantic ports of call. All we had to do was purchase that latest in cookware technology. For the price of five easy installments, each bigger than my mortgage payment, we would receive a life-altering blessing. Cooking solely with steam, we would eliminate the need for fatty oils. Our waistline would shrink, our diseases would be cured, our children would be intelligent, and our pets more well mannered. It was the definition of “too good to be true.”
In the end, we were able to resist the hard sell. We opted for the complimentary three-night vacation package. It was the consolation prize for the unconverted, heathens who wanted to continue to clog their arteries and enjoy tasting their food. With much judgment and pity, we left the ballroom watching others sign their life savings over to a carnival barker with Teflon skillets and a thousand watt smile.
The beginning of 1 Peter sounds a bit like an infomercial. It’s an offer that’s hard to believe and harder to accept. God has chosen you. Chosen you to bless you. Chosen you to make you rich and to live eternally.
“I am writing to God’s chosen people who are living as foreigners in the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia. God the Father knew you and chose you long ago, and his Spirit has made you holy.” (1 Peter 1:1-2 NLT)
It’s a bold statement that leads to many questions. “So, what’s the catch? Why me? What will it cost me?” The answers may surprise you. As we explore Peter’s message to persecuted Christians, we will find an offer that’s true, a price that is high, and a call worth answering.