Look at Paul’s willingness to “give until it hurts”:
“And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you;” (2 Corinthians 12:15a)
Even when those who are benefitting from the sunshine of his love give him nothing in return:
“though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved.” (12:15b)
The truth is, we all have the capacity and even propensity to turn a cold shoulder on those we love, even to the point of betrayal. A classic example would be that of Peter, of Judas. In the case of the former, repentance was granted because Peter admitted he was wrong. Judas, it seems, never truly tasted God’s love and abundance to begin with, and so he never had a past relationship on which to fall back after he sold Jesus out with a kiss.
“O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man (and woman) that trusteth in Him.” (Psalm 34:8)
God is so generous. He has given us “life, and breath, and all things” (Acts 17:25). He loves us, moment by moment abundantly. I find that when my mind races toward the future, I miss the beauty and peace that God has for me now. That’s the way of childlikeness. It flows all the time. It’s my responsibility to take notice, and to respond correctly.
“So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.” (Luke 17:10)
Jesus prefaces the above verse with an explanation of the master/servant relationship. He says that we are under obligation to wait on Him, hand-and-foot. And when we get to Heaven? As I erroneously understand this, a life of total, unquestioning and unwavering obedience, will only be seen as the minimum requirement for the “privilege” of existence. Hmm. Travel further down that rabbit-hole and look at it as well through this lens. (Lamentations 3:39): “Wherefore doth a living man complain, a man for the punishment of his sins?” Those two verses, in context with one another, seem to make the case for a hardscrabble life of toil and trial. Barely scraping by the skin of our teeth in an effort to appeal to and appease a harsh taskmaster whose only pleasure in life comes from…what? Loving us abundantly? Do you see where this is going? There’s a disconnect here somewhere. Does any of the above resonate with you? I find that this is an all too common misconstruance. Where we see God as if He were us. We don’t make a good god.
“How precious also are Thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with Thee.” (Psalm 139:17-18)
The truth is, we can never pay God back for all the things He’s done. Heck, we don’t even know a fraction of the gifts that He’s stored up to shower upon us. He is that generous. And the mere fact that we care enough to want to express a tincture of loving gratitude (as opposed to ignoring Him altogether) in return, makes His day.
Whereas Paul says “the more abundantly I love you…”, God loves us fully, all the time. It’s when we endeavor to fixate upon it and Him with our time and attention that it comes into focus. God needs us when we’re grateful.
“Which in time past was to thee unprofitable, but now profitable to thee and to me.” (Philemon 1:11)