How Soon We Forget
by Mary Alice McGinnis
I remember calling home during my college days. Sadly, often it was not the fact that my parents sacrificed their hard-earned money to provide me with a good education that prompted me to call. I don't remember dialing their number to just say, “Hey Mom and Dad, I was just thinking about you and wanted to tell you how much I love you!”
I called because I needed something. Help with a bill, my bank account was getting low, or I just simply needed some advice.
One spring while studying for some difficult tests, I received a phone call from my Mom. When I picked up the phone, her voice was distressed. She said, “Today is your dad and my anniversary. I thought we would hear from you.” Her tone was full of disappointment, but I could tell most of all how hurt she was that I had forgotten their special day.
It made me realize how easy it was for me to forget how much they were doing for me and take it all for granted. Don’t we treat God the same way sometimes? He loves to lavish us with His blessings just because HE LOVES US.
But God does not want to just be our provider, like a proverbial vending machine we go to when we need something. He doesn’t want to be seen as only our rescuer, like a magic genie we turn to only when we can’t figure things out ourselves. He doesn’t desire only our obedience, or sacrifice, or surrender or even our praise.
Above all else, He wants our heart. He desires - more than anything - our LOVE!
In today’s reading, God tells us, His children, first and foremost:
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”
Jesus Himself echoed these words when He replied to the Pharisees: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.” (Matthew 22:37-38)
But we as frail human beings all too soon forget all the ways God loves us, blessed us, and sustains us.
Just take a minute right now and think of something you have—food in your refrigerator, the car in your garage, your home or apartment, your job, or your loved ones.
Think through all the ways God lavished His blessing upon you, though you did nothing to deserve it.
Example: This apple from my refrigerator.
I bought it from the store this morning with money I earned at my job. Yet that apple came from an orchard where I did not care for the trees. It flourished on that tree only because they planted the tree in rich soil. Rain came down to water that tree, and the sunshine kissed the leaves of that tree. This all happened to provide the nutrients that tree needed to produce my apple. It was all by the hand of God, and I had nothing to do with it.
Oh yes, I have a good job that allowed me to pay for it, but what about that? Who gave me the physical body I need to live and work? Who gave me the mind and intelligence to do complex thinking? Who provided me with the opportunity to contribute something meaningful and useful and earn a living?
God owns it all. He is the sustainer, the provider, and the maker of all things.
Just like God delivered Israel from the land of slavery in Egypt, above all else, He has delivered me too from my slavery. My slavery is to the relentless taskmaster of “I-dolatry." That is my tendency to trust “me-myself and I”, in my own abilities, as though everyone and everything depends on me. It is a bottomless pit of captivity.
How prone we are to forget about the One who loves us. How do we keep our hearts centered on loving God more than anything else?
Remembering this: “We love because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19
This brings my heart back to gratitude when I remember Him and reflect on all the love He has poured out on me, though I have done nothing to deserve it. Then, from the depths of my heart springs the yearning desire to honor Him and somehow, in some small way, show Him my love in return.
Lord, You have relentlessly sought after me and paid the ultimate price to buy be back from the slavery of sin. You did all these things, not because you had to, but just because You love me. Fill my heart with gratitude and my lead my heart toward loving you with all my life.