Why I Love

Lesson to the Kingdom Kids teachers, July 3rd, 2005.

Luke 15:11-31 - The Parable of the Lost Son

Jesus continued: "There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, 'Father, give me my share of the estate.' So he divided his property between them.

"Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

"When he came to his senses, he said, 'How many of my father's hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.' So he got up and went to his father.

"But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

"The son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.'

"But the father said to his servants, 'Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' So they began to celebrate.

"Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 'Your brother has come,' he replied, 'and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.'

"The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, 'Look! All these years I've been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!'

"'My son,' the father said, 'you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' "

Why does God love you? If you're like me, your answer is something like "I have no idea!" I can think of all sorts of reasons why God shouldn't love me. I can't think of many reasons why He should. To be able to do so would be rather arrogant, something He frowns upon! But being a father, I think I may have stumbled on why He loves me, and it gives me great hope and great peace.

My three girls are awesome. They're cute, generally obedient (though they have their moments), smart, talented, bubbly, adorable - shall I go on? But none of those reasons are why I love them. In fact, they could not increase my love for them by becoming cuter, more obedient or more talented. They are, at times, also annoying, whiney, complainers, mean, loud and rude. But none of those things diminish my love for them.

So why do I love them? I love them for one simple reason - I am their Dad and they are my girls. I love because of who they are and who I am. It's how I was created to be, as a father, but it has also been instilled in me by my upbringing. It's both biological and sociological. Sure, I know that I should love them, but that knowledge cannot explain why my love for them is fairly constant despite their behavior. Their behavior can make my happy or sad, give me joy or frustration or make me proud or angry, but has little impact on my love for them. This, I think, is of God, created in me. It's part of my make up, outside any decision of my own or teaching from others. I love because that's how God made Dads.

My love is also a commitment, a covenant that I agreed to when I married their Mom and proceeded with the act of creating children. I committed to loving them always before they were born. I became a parent and that identity, not any attribute they may have, defines my love for them. The same sort of thing could be said of my love for my wife. But this too, though less biology than sociology, comes from my identity rather than from their worthiness. I love because I am a Dad and a husband and nothing can shake that.

The same can be said of God. He is love, and our sin cannot shake that love. It seems harder to believe, however (although sometimes it can be hard to imagine that our fathers love us.) Perhaps it's because we are surrounded by a western religious culture that tries to measure us, to tell us how good or bad we are. Perhaps because we, as humans, fall short of living up to whom we are. I say that my love is not dependant on what my kids do, but the truth is told that's not completely true. My anger at their 'failures' masks that love, sometimes making it invisible. In some families, the love is completely hidden by years of abuse. We look at the world around us and see value judgments, condescension, criticisms and tearing others down to build ourselves up and it's hard to understand how God loves us no matter what. But He does.

When it seems impossible that God could love you - that He could delight in you - parents think of your children. Think of how you feel about them. Think about how their folly can not possibly diminish the love in your heart. How, despite the number of clothes they've ruined, the items they've broken, the silence they've shattered and the embarrassment they've caused, there is no length you will not go to protect them, to save them from harm and to see them grow. Nothing can shake your commitment to them, and realize that the same is true of God. If you don't have children think of your spouse or your own parents. Hopefully, this will help you see yourself through God's eyes. You are His child, His precious and special child and nothing you can do will change that.

John 3:16-17

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

6 Comments

Well said and nice stuff.

Hey, thanks!

(No one's supposed to notice this yet, since it's the lesson for the Kingdom Kids workers tomorrow morning. Notice the post time of tomorrow at 10 AM? :-) )

So, no baby yet, eh?

I love that parable! I think so many times as Christians, especially those who have been Christian for a long time or raised in a church-going family, we tend to act like the older brother -- jealous that we've been doing all the right things and "those people" can just waltz in and be forgiven. I have to remind myself often not to do that and to remember that I am a prodigal in my sin as well.

Beautifully stated! I am really encouraged by this lesson. Truly moving.

I was thinking along these lines - but not in so elegant a way when I had my date with my daughter. I love her and my son so much and am reminded that God loves me - although I am not worthy of the love he gives - I accept it gratefully.

Again - thanks, this is a powerful lesson....

An incredibly heart warming lesson. It's always nice to have a reminder of that thing which let's the world know what Christianity is really about: love.



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  • An incredibly heart warming lesson. It's always nice to have a reminder of that thing which let's the world know what Christianity is really about: love....

    James Dinh
    Why I Love
  • I was thinking along these lines - but not in so elegant a way when I had my date with my daughter. I love her and my son so much and am reminded that God loves me - although I am not worthy of the love he gives - I acce...

  • Beautifully stated! I am really encouraged by this lesson. Truly moving....

    Paul Frederick
    Why I Love
  • I love that parable! I think so many times as Christians, especially those who have been Christian for a long time or raised in a church-going family, we tend to act like the older brother -- jealous that we've been do...

  • Hey, thanks! (No one's supposed to notice this yet, since it's the lesson for the Kingdom Kids workers tomorrow morning. Notice the post time of tomorrow at 10 AM? :-) ) So, no baby yet, eh?...

    salguod
    Why I Love
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