For Who He Is

This evening I had a little bit of free time, so I picked up my copy of a small popular daily devotional.  As I read the words for the day’s entry, I came back to a point that I’ve thought about fairly regularly in recent years.

In the devotional, the author talked about being willing to endure hardship and trouble in this life in order to receive a reward in the next, which seems to be a pretty popular reason.  We hear a lot of people talking about doing things because they believe God will bless them for doing so, or at least hope that He will.

The question this raises in my mind is – is love that expects a return for its investment truly love?

When we look at scripture’s definition of love, it’s pretty clear that the impetus behind love isn’t about how we’ll benefit.  God deserves our love because He is God.  Not because of what He might potentially do for us.

The same goes for our love for other people.  While we live in a culture that looks for a good ROI, when we look at the Sermon on the Mount, and indeed scripture itself, we see love for the sake of love – things like caring about people who hate us, who can’t repay us, and so on.

This doesn’t mean that someone loving us back is a bad thing, because it’s not.  This also doesn’t mean that we’re supposed to let people walk all over us, because we’re not.  However, when we see people hurting, hungry, or whatever, even if they are our enemy, we are to love them – not a forced, guilt-based, reward-driven love, but love that flows naturally out of the love that God pours in.

Just like Christ loved us and gave His life for us even when we didn’t want anything to do with Him, doing something out of love means acting without consideration for how we might benefit.  If God chooses to bless us as a result, that’s all well and good.  But if not, that’s cool too.