It’s All About The Gift
There are many who want to carve out their image of God as a God of love. They believe that his love requires nothing more. They believe God’s love is such that all are saved regardless of their religious views or conduct…just so long as they are “good.”
Consider it. What would happen if John 3:16 simply read, “For God so loved the world?” What if God did nothing more than love? I wonder, frankly, if the earth would have remained formless and void without substance? I wonder what would have happened if God only had good intentions? I wonder what would have happened if God saw our struggle (both internal and external) with sin and the world and simply said, “I love you.” What if God was merely a benevolent God, but one that never used his power to help us?
I’m so glad, however, that John 3:16 doesn’t stop with, “For God so loved the world.” To the contrary, the scripture records, “…that he gave.” Therein lies the truth of the matter; God’s love and gifts go hand in hand. God gives, and he gives what is infinitely valuable. Indeed, the real measure of love is the depth and measure of the gift.
It seems then that God’s message is the same for us. It is not enough to say, “I love you.” The measure of our love, whether for spouses, children, neighbors, our community or the world, is measured by the depth and quality of our giving. Here is a simple way to make this personal. Fill in the blanks with your personal love/giving journey. For [your name] so loved [spouse, child, neighbor] that [your name] gave [list of things to give]. Think about it.
–William F. High is the Chief Executive Officer of the National Christian Foundation Heartland. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.