The rules of the Kingdom of God are backwards from the rules of the kingdom of this world. The world believes that one must take care of one’s self first and see to one’s own needs above all else. You get by getting. In the Kingdom of God, you get by giving. You receive love by loving, you win friends (and enemies) by first being a friend, and you overcome evil by doing good, not by violent opposition.
On the way to dinner last night, my wife asked me a question that got me thinking about this very subject. We were driving down a back country road and she suddenly said, “I want to ask you a question.” I answered with, “OK.” Then she asked, “How do you know that I love you? I mean what do I do to show you that I love you? Are there things that I do that that affirms my love or shows you my love for you?”
My first reply was, “Have you been reading women’s magazines?” My wife usually doesn’t ask this type of question so, I was puzzled as to where this question came from. I thought for a moment before I answered. (It’s funny, my kids are playing a StarWars video game right now. So, there is theme music in the room as I write. I love God’s sense of humor.)
“You take care of my kids. You give yourself to them every day. You laugh and cry with them, you worry about them, and you lay your life down for them all the time.” I am pretty sure this wasn’t the answer she expected because; she asked if there was anything else. I said, “You work hard at making the house clean and nice. You care about what our living environment is like.” (Sounds romantic, huh?) “Why are you asking?” She told that a friend and her husband were reading a book together and that it contained a section on love affirmation. I said, “Oh, OK. Well that explains it.” She also added that she had doubts about her abilities to show her love for me at times.
We went on to other topics but I kept thinking about her question. Sometimes I get stuck on a subject like that. Later on I told her I had thought of another way that she shows her love for me. I told her that she follows me and listens to what I have to say. She believes in me and trusts me and that means alot. Then she said something that sort of caught me off guard, “That’s not in the book.” I said, “I’ve never been big on going by the book.” We chuckled and the conversation pretty much ended there. But, all this made me think. What do I do to show my love for God? Do I take care of his kids whether I feel like it or not? Am I always ready to do what He says and go where He’s going? I mean, I claim to have followed Him for twenty something years but, there wasn’t always alot of cooperation on my part. I have days where I want to tell His “kids” to take a hike or, just go off and do my own thing. I think my wife feels that way when she’s really tired as well. Most of us do. But I don’t take it as asign that she doesn’t love me anymore. It just tells me she needs my help to keep going. I actually think God is like that as well.
I think there are times when you and I don’t feel like we can keep going or we think about quitting. I don’t think God finds this alarming. I think He sees we need His help. We need something special from Him something that encourages our heart. I do that for my wife when I see that her week has been hard, that’s why I was taking her out to dinner. Because she needed to know I was there for her and that I could see she was nearing the end of her rope. In giving that to her what she needed I got what I needed, the reassurance that she loved me very much. I didn’t start out to get that. It was sort of a perk. We get what we need from God by pouring ourselves out for Him; not by getting mealy mouthed and and asking why we just don’t “feel” close to Him. Christ said that if we love Him we would tend His Lambs, not out of compulsion, but simply to return the love He has shown us. We follow and give our lives to Him, and to what’s important to Him, because he first loved us.
I was talking to a fellow teacher the other day. We were working in a classroom with six kids. They had various kinds of emotional and behavioral disorders. One of them has Asberger’s Syndrome and the another has Autism Spectrum Disorder. This environment requires three adults to manage. During one of our breaks the teacher told me she gets really “empty” taking care of these kids and that she doesn’t get what she needs from God on Sunday mornings. She said that she gets it directly from Him after she pours herself out on the kids. She also said that there were some qualifications for her job that aren’t on her resume.
Those whom He calls He qualifies and equipts…