Love more than sacrifice

There are too numerous things to count that I’ve learned about God specifically through being a mom. One of the most breathtaking is the idea that God desires love more than sacrifice, and the knowledge of Him more than burnt offerings (Hosea 6:6).

 

I have trained my children to obey me. Ever since they could speak (or in my youngest son Daniel’s case, before they could speak), I have taught obedience as rule #1 in the Endraske house. The first Bible verse my kids learned was “Obey your parents in the Lord for this is right, Ephesians 6:1.” I taught them to obey promptly and fully, without complaining, arguing or questioning. (I’m not saying they did this … I’m merely saying this is what I taught them.)

Now that  my two oldest are young adults, I’m finding myself in a trap here. If I ask them to run an errand for me, or do a chore around  the house, or even say have lunch with me …. I don’t want them to do this out of a sense of obedience and/or sacrifice. I want them to WANT to. I want my kids to WANT to help, to serve, to give, and I especially want them to want to be with me, to love spending time with me, to value my relationship. And I fear that in all my drilling and discipline on obedience, they missed having the opportunity to choose to demonstrate their “just because” love for me, because it was all about doing as they were told. 

So, when I was recently asked by an unbeliever why God would create mankind when He knew that some would reject Him and suffer the eternal consequences of that choice, it reminded me of my life as a mom, and how I want my kids to want me.

When my kids were younger and they’d pester me to buy them something, or take them somewhere, I’d try to explain to them how they were stealing my joy of giving them a gift, that I wanted to give to them freely, and not under compulsion, being nagged and cajoled into giving them something.

I wonder if God ever feels like that. He loves us, with His incredible love. He demonstrates His love for us in that while we were still sinners, He sent Christ to die for us.  (Romans 5:8)  He does this as a free gift by His Grace through faith and even gifts us that faith in the first place, that none of us can boast or tell Him that He’s “got to give it to us” because it’s our wages due. (Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 4:4-5)  Because, in fact, our due wages is death (Romans 6:23).

God Himself is a cheerful giver, a good Father who loves to give good gifts to His children (Matthew 7:11). If He forced us to love Him, if there were no alternative BUT to love Him, I wonder if that would limit the joy that He receives from our grateful hearts full of thanksgiving to Him for the blessed gift of faith and love.

To the only Worthy One, my Savior and Redeemer and Friend.

TWIG

2 Replies to “Love more than sacrifice”

  1. Thank you for sharing. I think the idea is the child obeys because of his or her love for and trust in the parent and chooses to do the parent’s will, as Christ chooses to do the Father’s will even to die on the cross. How much I fall short to love and obey God and even more so to train my child to love and obey Him. But He loves us despite all our faults. To Him be the glory.

    1. Dear Ping,
      Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I’m so excited to get a comment!

      I agree that the child should obey because of their love and trust in the parent, as Christ obeys His Father. Indeed, we are told that if we love Him, we will keep His commands (John 14:15). But, I fear that too often my children are obeying me not out of love (which would be a right demonstration of their love, as you’re saying) but out of fear of disappointing me or upsetting me. I wonder if God sees that in my own heart — that I’m obeying Him, not out of love, but rather out of fear. Perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:8) and my love is so imperfect, as is my children’s. Like you, I’m thankful that God loves us despite all our faults.

      Really, the impetus for this was a discussion with an unbeliever about why God would create mankind knowing they’re destined for hell. I’ve wrestled with the same question. Why didn’t He just MAKE us obey Him? But, then I see in my kids how much I WANT them to WANT me. I WANT them to LOVE me willfully, choosing me over other pursuits. And it made me wonder if God might feel the same way about us.

      Hope that helps. I love you and you bless me so much by your faithful desire to please your loving Father. Thank you for spurring me on to love and good works.

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