There’s a popular book titled The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. One of the ways we show and receive love, according to Chapman, is through giving and receiving gifts. I couldn’t help but think about this as Pastor Sean talked about God’s constant, extravagant, controversial generosity this past Sunday. I mean, even if your primary love language isn’t ‘gifts,’ you’ve got to be attracted to someone who gives like that, you know???
I have a friend whose love language IS giving gifts, and I’ve been on the receiving end (with great delight) too many times to count. Even when she gives me something I didn’t know I needed, it just blesses me! And, sooner or later, I seem to always find that the gift she’s given me is just what I need!
Another friend and I were sharing stories on Sunday about how we were touched by the reminder of God’s generosity toward us. One of the stories Pastor Sean didn’t mention, but that the Holy Spirit brought to my mind, was the story of a Pharisee named Simon (Luke 7:36-47). Simon invited Jesus to his home but then didn’t provide him any of the customary services – water for his feet, a kiss of greeting, or oil for his head. Instead, a woman who had lived a sinful life provided all three – in abundance. Jesus blesses the woman and says to Simon, “He who has been forgiven little loves little.” It’s a stinging reminder, isn’t it?
I used to say I wasn’t good at showing mercy until the Holy Spirit pointed out this story to me. Since then it’s been a lesson I don’t want to ever forget. I’ve been forgiven for a lot! And I continue to need forgiveness (since I pretty much mess up every day!) We love because He first loved us, the Apostle John tells us (1 John 4:19). And in turn, we give because He first gave His all for us on the cross. It all originates with Him, doesn’t it? But it’s when we finally have ‘eyes to see’ that our own generosity toward one another kicks in, and the kingdom of God comes to earth!