Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.
But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. –Hebrews 10:5-7; 12-14 KJV
Viral images, videos and memes broke the internet some days ago as news broke about the generosity of a business titan’s generosity. Billionaire Philanthropist, Robert Frederick Smith, this year’s commencement speaker for Morehouse College, had pledged to pay off the entire student loan debt of the Class of 2019’s 396 graduates: to the tune of approximately 40 million dollars.
“On behalf of the eight generations of my family that have been in this country, we’re going to put a little fuel in your bus. This is my class, 2019. And my family is making a grant to eliminate their student loans,” Smith said.
When you look at videos of Smith making this pledge, you realize some seconds passed before many of the people on the platform and in the audience fully grasped Smith’s words.
Once the realization and understanding of Smith’s words sunk in, cheers, tears and wild applause set in among the crowd—particularly among the graduates.
To say Smith’s philanthropic gesture was life-changing is an understatement.
Numerous articles in business and financial magazines, as well as research, attest to the differences in personal financial trajectories between people who begin their careers under a load of financial debt versus people who don’t. And think of the psychological impact! Imagine the mental relief those students experience as a result of knowing they won’t have to deal with a facing student loan bill taking a sizeable chunk out of their monthly salaries.
Having that level of debt erased is wonderful, no doubt, and kudos to Mr. Smith for his outstanding generosity. But you know what? I know of someone who did something much, much better!
We have a heavenly Father who saw the debt of sin His creation labored under. Debt created by student loans can, with time, eventually be paid off. Even if a student defaulted on his loans, he wouldn’t lose his life. Sin, however, is another story: “For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23a). I praise God for the remaining portion of that verse: “but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23b).
Through Jesus Christ our awful, burdensome debt of sin was paid for with the blood He shed upon the cross. God the Father saw our need—the debt we could not pay—and made the arrangements. He prepared the body Jesus; the sacrificial lamb would use to pay for the sins of the entire world!
Today, those of us who have our sins forgiven and our debt of sin paid are walking in newness of life (Romans 6:4). Even during times of testing and trial, we can “rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory” (1 Peter 7:8). We celebrate with the 2019 Morehouse graduating class and applaud Mr. Smith. What Smith did was great—but what the Lord has done for us is even greater. What God did is eternal. It’s better than a Morehouse Moment!