September 10, 2007

Generous Love

1 John 3:1-11

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! 1 John 3:1


"If you do something for me, I'll do something for you." Have you ever made a statement like that? If you have, you've offered a relationship based on conditions.

Relationships like that are common in life. If I want to buy a car, I have to offer enough money to get it. If I vote for you, I expect you to govern in a way that pleases me. In some families, even love has become conditional. Our world seems to be driven by conditional love.

The late Dutch writer Henri J. M. Nouwen describes the weakness of this kind of love. He wrote, "The world's love is and always will be conditional. As long as I keep looking for my true self in the world of conditional love, I will remain ‘hooked' to the world-trying, failing, and trying again. It‘s a world that fosters addictions because what it offers cannot satisfy the deepest craving of my heart."

Is there any relationship not based on conditions? The apostle John points us to the love that God lavishes on us. "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!"

God the Father's love is not conditional. The Father's love is not stingy.

Jesus met the conditions of the Father for us. And we are children of God because God really loves us.

<p>Lord, we cannot begin to comprehend the depth of your love for us. Help us to live into your generous, lavish love in and through Jesus, our brother and Savior. </p><p>Amen.</p>

About the author — Reginald Smith

Dr. Reginald Smith is senior pastor at Roosevelt Park Community Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he has served for seventeen years. He has also served as a pastor in Paterson, New Jersey. He and his wife, Sharon, have three daughters, Janelle, Katrina, and Mariah.

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