“Fractional love is soon abandoned.”
This quote, from a Bible study I have started reading through, hit me hard this morning. The study is over Love as a spiritual gift from God to us, both in His showing love to us, and His giving us the ability to show love to others. The study starts off with the premise that giving is the most prominent way that love is shown, and the author poses the argument that people ” can give without loving…[but] no one can ever love without giving.” I wrote about this specifically a few weeks ago in a post titled Premeditate Giving, and talk about how God showed His love to us, the pinnacle of His creation, by giving us the Earth. He didn’t just create us, see that we wanted a place like the Earth, and make it for us. He created it beforehand, and then created us and handed His gift over to us. The same is true of an even greater gift – the gift of salvation. God planned long before He created us to save us from our sins through His son, Jesus Christ. The apostle John tells us “…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.” (1 John 4:9).
So the fact that God loves us without any hesitation or partition is hard to debate, but what about us showing love to Him in return? I can’t speak for anyone other than myself, but this is where I realize that I fail miserably. If the primary evidence of love is giving, than showing love to God must include giving to Him. There’s nothing in this world I can give Him that is not already His, though He does require that I give money as a sign of my commitment to Him. This isn’t an area I struggle with…the thing I struggle with is service.
When Jesus appeared to his disciples after His resurrection, he confronted Peter about his denial of knowing Jesus. He outright asked Peter, “do you love me?” Peter was hurt – just as I would be hurt if my wife asked me this. I would hope that she would know I love her wholeheartedly. If she has to ask, then I have been doing something wrong. Peter knew what he had done wrong – he denied being with or even knowing Jesus as soon as times got tough. But still, he answered Jesus by saying “you know that I love you.” Jesus then directed him to show his love by acts of service. He told Peter, “feed my lambs…take care of my sheep…feed my sheep.” (John 21:15-17). In essence, Jesus was telling Peter “go, do the work I have placed before you. Serve me.”
This brings me back to the quote above – “Fractional love is soon abandoned.” In some things we can give fractionally – I only give about 24% of my time to my job. But with love, it’s all or none. The author of the study writes “selective love soon quits loving altogether.” When we don’t give ourselves to God completely, including gifts of service, we are only showing Him fractional love. I’m the worst when it comes to showing God fractional love, and I can see today how dangerous this is, because without wholehearted giving to God, we are destined to fall away from Him. I don’t believe that He lets go of us when we fall away, but what kind of life is it to have everything God offers us, only to turn away from Him and say “no thanks”?? I think this is what I do when I abandon God – when I only love Him fractionally. And I pray that God will help me to become more devoted to Him, and that I will show Him through giving of myself in service.