The One Offer That’s Not Too Good To Be True - Encouragement for Today - February 21, 2022

Published Feb 16, 2022

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Max LucadoFebruary 21, 2022

The One Offer That’s Not Too Good To Be True

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For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 (NIV)

“Free flight: Rio de Janeiro to Miami, Florida.”

I wasn’t the only person to hear about the offer but was one of the few to phone and request details. The courier service offered an airline ticket to anyone willing to carry a bag of mail to the United States from Brazil, where I was living at the time.

The deal was tantalizingly simple: Meet the company representative at the airport, where you’ll be given a duffel bag of documents, and one ticket. Check the bag when you check in for the flight. Retrieve the bag in Miami before you make your connection. Give it to the uniformed courier representative who’ll await you beyond customs.

No company makes such offers anymore. But this was 1985 — years before intense airport security. My dad was dying of ALS in the U.S., and airline tickets were expensive; my checking account was as thin as a sheet of paper. Free ticket? The offer sounded too good to be true.

So I walked away from it.

Many do the same with John 3:16. Millions read the verse. Only a handful trust it. Wary of a catch, perhaps? Not needy enough, maybe? Cautioned by guarded friends?

I was. Other Rio residents saw the same offer. Some read it and smelled a rat. “Don’t risk it,” one warned me. “Better to buy your own ticket.”

But I couldn’t afford one. Each call to Mom brought worse news.

“He’s back in the hospital.”
“Unable to breathe without oxygen.”
“The doctor says it’s time to call hospice.”

So I revisited the flyer. Desperation heightened my interest. Doesn’t it always? When he asks for a divorce or she says “It’s over.” When the coroner calls, the kids rebel or the finances collapse. When desperation typhoons into your world, God’s offer of a free flight home demands a second look. John 3:16 morphs from a nice verse to a life vest.

Some of you are wearing it. You can recount the day you put it on. For you, the passage comforts like your favorite blanket:

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

These words have kept you company through multiple windswept winters. I pray they warm you through the ones that remain.

Others of you are still studying the flyer. Still pondering the possibility, wrestling with the promise. One day wondering what kind of fool offer this is, and the next wondering what kind of fool would turn it down.

I urge you not to. Don’t walk away from this one. Who else can get you home? Who else has turned His grave into a changing closet and offered to do the same with yours? Take Jesus’ offer. Get on board. You don’t want to miss this chance to see your Father.

I didn’t. I called the company and signed up. My wife, Denalyn, drove me to the airport. I found the courier employee, accepted the passage, checked the bag and took my seat on the plane … smiling as though I’d just found a forgotten gift under the Christmas tree.

Do likewise. You don’t need to go to the airport, but you do need to make a move. You need to give God your answer: “… Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in” (Ephesians 3:17, MSG). Say yes to Him. Your prayer needs no eloquence, just honesty.

Father, I believe You love this world. You gave Your one and only Son so I can live forever with You. Apart from You, I die. With You, I live. I choose life. I choose You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


With brand-new content added and updated for a new generation, read Max Lucado’s life-changing message, 3:16: The Numbers of Hope, today.

Whether you’ve heard John 3:16 a thousand times or are hearing it for the first time, you’re invited to deeply explore these life-changing words with Max’s online Bible study through FaithGateway. Register here.


Receive more comforting and inspiring messages from Max when you tune in to The Max Lucado Encouraging Word Podcast.

Enter to WIN your very own copy of 3:16 by Max Lucado. To celebrate this book, Max’s publisher will give away 5 copies! Enter to win by leaving a comment here. {We’ll randomly select 5 winners and then notify each one in the comments section by Monday, February 28, 2022.}


1 John 4:9, “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.” (NIV)

1 John 4:19, “We love because he first loved us.” (NIV)

When you feel discouraged or defeated, what kind of thoughts go through your head?

In what ways can you combat those thoughts with the truth of God’s love?

© 2022 by Max Lucado. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
P.O. Box 3189
Matthews, NC 28106


Christianity / Devotionals / Encouragement for Today / The One Offer That’s Not Too Good To Be True - Encouragement for Today - February 21, 2022