by Pastor Tim Burt
Has anyone ever said love would be easy? If they did, they were lying or ignorantly mistaken. Why do I say that? Because people are imperfect vessels that love to receive love and appreciation, but aren’t always the greatest at showing love and appreciation back.
Because of love, a good parent will do most anything for their child! Good parents live to make sacrifices for their children. Parents also know that a good portion of the love and sacrifice they make, might go somewhat unappreciated. It depends on if children have been taught appreciation from the get-go! Good parents understand that. Parents, just like anyone else, can hurt from feeling underappreciated. But most do experience moments and times where their children do show love and appreciation that makes it all seem worth it. In general, the giving of their love is far greater than any thanksgiving and appreciation that will be returned.
Many parents have stories where their teenager, in trying to grow up and be independent, almost become narcissistic in the me, myself and I stage. During those times, the reciprocation of love and appreciation can feel like a drought. Parents begin to long for the stage when their children were so cute and innocent and loving. Parents hate when their personal feelings toward their child become negative and strained. They come to the crossroads of their feelings vs true love—the agape pure selfless love of God. Which will prevail?
Jesus did not leave Heaven, come to the earth, be rejected by mankind who was His very own creation and die for our sins to give us eternal life because of feelings. His actions were born from love—pure agape love. It’s a good thing that His love was deeper than feelings because He actually loved us while we were rejecting Him. Isaiah 53:3 NIV says, “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” God’s Word says we did not esteem Jesus while He was loving us—we despised Him. It doesn’t get worse than that. There are no good feelings in rejection. Jesus demonstrated that love runs deeper than feelings and that’s why we can’t let our life and relationships and outflow of love, be ruined or stopped by feelings.
Every one of us falls short in our thanksgiving to God. In actuality, we don’t owe God anything because He doesn’t see it that way. What He did for us was a gift of His love and it came without cost. We don’t owe Him for it but we certainly should be filled with a lifetime of love and appreciation for it!
Jesus taught the world that acts of love and kindness should trigger thanksgiving and appreciation in return. We all know the story of the ten lepers! Jesus healed them all but only one came back and thanked Him. Jesus questioned that because he wanted to teach us that love should be returned. But, if we look too hard for the return of love and appreciation from our spouse, child or friend, co-worker or boss, or anyone we help, we will surely experience disappointment. Instead of letting discouragement set in, let’s instead look to giving more and more appreciation to Jesus—the one who has continued to show you His love despite your thanklessness and disobedient times. This will make it easier for you to give love that isn’t reciprocated because that’s what Jesus gave and continues to give you! That’s what love does!
I am in ministry because I felt called by God to love, sacrifice, and help people daily. That has never changed for me. I am constantly in the place where people cry out for help. Ministering to the many needs of people is a never-ending task. It can take it’s toll. It can wear you down. Especially when people’s momentary desperation is solved, they get what they need, they’re happy again, and move on thankless, forgetting you even helped them.
We may or may not receive the thanks and appreciation we feel we deserve, but, know that our love and kind actions toward others never escapes God’s sight. And know this: “Love never fails…”(1 Corinthians 13:8 (NIV) When our motivation for loving is pure and we’ve kept on loving despite how others respond to it, we have pleased God. He first loved us! He is our example and motivation for how to love! And He is our ultimate rewarder and promises to do so. Matthew 10:42 (TLB) “And if, as my representatives, you give even a cup of cold water to a little child, you will surely be rewarded.”
In conclusion, remembering that we too have fallen short in our love and appreciation to Jesus helps us follow the example of Jesus—loving others simply because it’s right; not because of how we feel or because they are succeeding at reciprocating appreciation to your sacrifice and love. Love gives, so keep busy giving love! It’s the highest and most fulling road of life and so pleases the heart of God! And it never fails!
John 13:35 (NLT) “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
In His love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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