Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn't love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that. -Ephesians 5:1-2 (MSG)
This verse absolutely SCREAMS at me. Let's read it again, especially that last part: "...His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn't love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that."
This weekend my oldest son went away with a group at church. When I picked him up, he talked and talked AND talked about his amazing weekend. I am sharing that information with you to try to explain just how much fun he obviously had. You see, Andrew is not a talker. He says what he needs to say in as few words as possible and throws in several jokes and smart comments like pepper throughout the day. For him to sit and talk to me (then repeat it at home with Shaun) must mean that he had the time of his life.
One of the things that he shared with us was the verse for the weekend. And it was the one I've shared with you here. In fact, this verse means so much to me that I think I'm finally going to do what so many Christians around me have done. I'm going to adopt a life verse.
But let's get onto the real reason you're reading this. Why this verse? What's so special about it?
It's easy to choose to love someone you deem "worthy" of your love. Your children, for example, are worthy of it, right? They fit the example of "extravagant love" very well. If you're like me, you want to give them the world and more. You'd lay down your life for them to save them from pain. When one of them is sad, you ache for them. When something awesome happens, like Andrew's exciting trip this weekend, you are excited right along with them! Yes, for the most part, children are easy to love.
But what about your childhood best friend who was so fun growing up and just can't seem to make the right choices now? Or your dad, who lets you down time and again? Or the neighbor next door who seems almost bipolar in her love/hate of you on a daily basis? Do you love them? Do they deserve "extravagant love" from us?
Yes! God doesn't offer up extravagant love only to those who have done something to deserve it! After all, NONE of us has done something to deserve it! He gives it freely and without bias. If we do as this verse says and imitate HIM, then we MUST do the same: give extravagant love to those in our lives that don't deserve it.
I'll end with this: it's easy to love someone who rewards you with something in exchange for it; it's much harder to love someone just because God has asked you to.