Section 1: God
Week 2: God Is Good
Day 2: God’s Love for Us Is Undeserved
God’s love for us expresses itself in different ways in different contexts. Whatever the context, though, because love involves giving of oneself for the benefit of another person, God always selflessly seeks our good. The clearest example of that was Christ’s willingness to leave all the prerogatives of heaven to become human and die on the cross. He didn’t have to do that, but he did because he knew we needed him to (more on that when we get to the section on Salvation).
But God’s love isn’t limited to Christ’s death on the cross. Because he’s concerned about our welfare, he provides for us in many other ways. James goes so far as to say that every good gift comes from God (James 1:17). That means, if there’s something good in your life, it’s a gift that came from God as an expression of his love for you.
We Tend to Give People Only What We Think They Deserve
The Big Bang Theory is one of my favorite shows. In one episode, Penny tells Sheldon she has a Christmas present for him, and he gets upset because now he has to get her a present. Penny insists he doesn’t have to get her anything. But Sheldon objects that reciprocity is the very essence of gift-giving. In his view, when someone gives you a gift, you’re required to give that person a gift in return. You owe them a gift of the same value that represents the same perceived level of friendship – nothing more and nothing less. For the socially awkward and obsessive-compulsive Sheldon, that represents a lot of work and anxiety.
Now, Sheldon probably goes too far in describing the nature of gift giving. We are at least occasionally willing to give someone a gift even if they don’t have one for us. But Sheldon has a point. Our generosity has its limits. By nature, we’re pretty selfish. So, at some point, if we keep giving and someone doesn’t give back, we’re likely to get angry and stop, thinking they no longer deserve any gifts from us.
God Doesn’t Give That Way
Thankfully, God is not like us. As the Creator, everything in the universe is his. That means we have nothing we could give him that he doesn’t already own. What’s more, we regularly repay his love with disobedience and half-hearted devotion. So we’ve certainly done nothing to deserve the gifts he gives us each day. Yet he gives anyway because it’s part of his nature to be self-sacrificing. As we said, he has been giving of himself for all eternity. It’s impossible for him not to be giving. That’s why every day he’s willing to give us gifts we don’t deserve, and ultimately why he was willing to go to the cross so we could have eternal life.
How often do your actions towards others revolve around what you think they deserve? What would your relationship with God look like if he took the same approach?
Take a moment today to thank God that his love is greater than ours.