Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Excellence of Love

My relationship with my parents changed dramatically some nearly six years ago. At the time, I was bereft of all the things I loved in this world, and simply, my parents were there for me; they were ‘God in skin’ for me. They took a full-grown man, the father of three girls, a busy professional--broken and shattered to pieces overnight--and helped him rebuild his life, one day at a time over several months.

They listened to me pour my heart out the same way, with the same words, with almost endless repetition. They watched on (in sorrow) as I mourned and grieved. They grieved too, perhaps more than I when I look back. What they showed was the excellence of love. They did, then did some more, and they never stopped doing. They made love a verb. They gave truthful testimony to the following in James:

“Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.”
–James 2:18b (NIV).

They made faith real.

Think about this. Are we thankful about what our parents have done for us or are we just thankful for them--just simply for who they are? Be honest. I am so very thankful for what my parents did for me, but that doesn’t even come close to my love for them for just being them. I’m astonished, motivated, inspired and thrilled by their love; and this will never change.

The maturest form of love is to love simply for the sake of loving. It’s the excellence of love, according to A.W. Tozer.[1]

We often feel compelled to thank people and to thank God. The truth is God doesn’t need our thanks; but, we do need to thank him! We need to thank him in order to remain spiritually, emotionally and mentally healthy and connected with life.

Like with parents, if they’ve done so much for us, we ought to be thankful to God not for what he’s done for us, but simply for whom he is. Love out of gratitude alone is okay. But, it’s inferior to the most excellent way.[2]

We’re called to go beyond the grateful-for-deeds-done type of love and go on to worship the nature of God, i.e. being thankful purely for the nature of our parents.

Copyright © 2009, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.
[1] A.W. Tozer, The Worship Driven Life, The Reason We Were Created – Ed. James L. Snyder (London: Monarch Books, 2008), p. 118-20.
[2] Refer to Paul’s thesis on love in 1 Corinthians 12:31-14:1.

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