I recently read a book by Bruce Main called Spotting the Sacred: Noticing God in the Most Unlikely Places. In this book, Mr. Main recalls seeing an Episcopalian Bishop being interviewed on TV. The host closes by asking the bishop, “If you were to summarize faithful Christian behavior in one or two sentences, what words would you use?” The old bishop replied, “Christians are people who love wastefully.” This statement is huge! All my life I’ve heard things like, “Don’t be wasteful” and “Waste not, want not.” Waste has always been associated with negative images. Even “trash” is called “waste.” I looked up the word “waste” in the dictionary, and I found that the basic definition is “to squander.” So then I had to look up squander, and it said, “to spend or use extravagantly.” According to this bishop, this is the way Christians should love – Extravagantly. I think this bishop got it right.
What does extravagant, wasteful love look like, and am I guilty of loving like that?
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (1 Cor. 13:4-8, TNIV).
To really look at this scripture, and fully understand its meaning, you have to ask yourself “Does that describe me?” with every phase. For example. “Love is patient.” Stop right there. Really…I have to be patient? I think that anyone who has known me for any length of time knows that I am not a patient man. However, if I want to be known as a man who loves wastefully (extravagantly), then I need to make patience a top priority in my life.
“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (1 John 4:8, TNIV)
It is really powerful to think that God is love. It really brings special meaning to the scripture above. Since God is love, we can substitute the name God whenever we see “love” and adjust the text for readability. This is what we get: “God is patient, God is kind. He does not envy, He does not boast, He is not proud. He does not dishonor others, He is not self-seeking, He is not easily angered, He keeps no record of wrongs. God does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. He always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. God never fails.” If God is my example of extravagant, wasteful love, sign me up!
By no means do I consider myself perfect, or even a good example for others to follow when it comes to loving extravagantly and wastefully. However, I do see things in Christianity that do not fall in line with this Christ-like love.
- Too often, I witness (and, unfortunately participate in) Christians getting into arguments that they will do anything to win. This includes getting downright mean and nasty.
- Christians making fun of other people, and not in a playful way
- Christians bad-mouthing other people, and talking about them behind their backs
- Christians taking their political views, and expressing dislike (or sometimes hatred) toward members of other political parties. For example, Republicans hating Democrats and Democrats hating Republicans.
The above are just some of the things that I see. I wonder, where is the love of Jesus in each of those scenarios.
Please comment back and share your thoughts and opinions. This blog was created for people to discuss Christian topics. Usually, there is not much discussion, only my thoughts. Share your thoughts on the blog, it might just be what someone else needs to read!