I’ve started reading through a new Bible study, since the video study I was trying to go through broke and left me stranded with no study to go through. Until Zondervan hooks me up with a new video, I’m going to read through this new study and share my thoughts about it. I’m not going to give the name or author of the new study, since I am also supposed to review it later (it was provided for free for me to review from BookSneeze.com). I don’t want to break any copyright laws or anything like that – I just want to share things that I thought about as I read it.
In reading the first couple of days of the study, I came to a realization of something I hadn’t thought of before. The study made the point that the best proof of love from someone is giving. Whenever a person loves another person, he is sure to give something to that other person. It isn’t always gifts, although it can be. It can also be time, energy, service, kind words, and even simple gestures like holding hands. Gary Chapman wrote a book about the ways people give and receive love, and it’s almost required reading for any Christian-based marriage counseling – The Five Love Languages. The 5 languages of love that he mentions are all really nothing more than ways to give to your spouse – showing love by giving what he or she needs most to feel loved.
But the realization I had is that perhaps even better than just giving to someone as a token of love is premeditated giving.
I got this idea from the passage the author of the study used as an example of God giving to us as a symbol of His love for us – Genesis 1. In this first chapter of the Bible, it describes God’s creative activity – He created all things: earth, water, and sky, plants and animals. Then, after creating all this, He created humans, and tells them “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.” (v. 29). The very first interaction God had with human-kind was to give them a gift – the entire earth, His creation. But if you look at this, you can soon see that God created all of these things before He even created humans. Before He gave them to Adam and Eve, He had planned on creating all these things and giving them to the pinnacle of His creation. His giving was premeditated.
We are told in many places in the Bible that God loves us, and that He is a God of love. The apostle John wrote about this, and brought up another great example of God’s premeditated giving, in 1 John 4:7-9:
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
Sending Jesus as the “atoning sacrifice for our sins” was just as premeditated as creating the entire universe. And by doing so, God demonstrated his great love for us.
I know many times I think about giving something to my wife, but I don’t think of it until I see she has a need. I don’t think about unloading the dishwasher as an act of service for my wife until I see that she has 100 other things on her plate and can really use the help. And I rarely even think about it then… I don’t think about giving her a foot rub until I see she is tired and her feet hurt and she needs it. And even then, I usually don’t think about until she asks me to do it. I love my wife, and I would unload the dishwasher or rub her feet any time, but waiting until the need is obvious or until she asks is not nearly as loving as doing these kinds of things before she needs them or asks for them. I think I could really take God’s example of showing love by giving to us before we knew we needed it, and I could improve how I show love to my wife and others. I know that I could improve by practicing premeditated acts of giving.