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Tide of Love

It is the season of getting”, says Lucy to her platonic love, Schroeder.

               Yes, I have seen a little too much Charlie Brown during this pandemic. I seem to have been very successful in instilling my love for all things Peanuts to my two-year-old. She has now become a bigger fan than me.

               It really is shocking, and eerily familiar, to see how easily Lucy makes every holyday an excuse to get. For her, as opposed to her more pastoral and theologically oriented brother Linus, life is about getting stuff. The more, the better. Why so familiar? Well, because there is a Lucy and me, and there is likely to be a one in you too. The love of stuff, the tendency to hoard material things and fall in love with them, is in all of us. Interestingly, we do this with non-material things too. We are eager to get from our spouse, but are reluctant to give. We require our children to give, but will consider them undeserving of getting. We look at the government demanding to get, but are rather slow to give back. We go the Church building to get but when anyone, including Jesus, asks us to give back, we are late for lunch. Yes, I am guilty of this.

               Ellen White has a fascinating quote in the Desire of Ages, page 21: “All things Christ received from God, but He took to give. So in the heavenly courts, in His ministry for all created beings: through the beloved Son, the Father’s life flows out to all; through the Son it returns, in praise and joyous service, a tide of love, to the great Source of all. And thus through Christ the circuit of beneficence is complete, representing the character of the Great Giver, the law of life.”

               There is a lot to unpack here. I want us to focus on two things: “a tide of love” and “the circuit of beneficence”. The tide, according to google, is “the alternate rising and falling of the sea, usually twice in each lunar day at a particular place, due to the attraction of the moon and sun.” With this simple imagery, White destroys all the Lucy’s in our heart. The love God gives you (through everything He is and does for you) is supposed to return to Him. The beauty of it is that it isn’t returning empty, just as it was delivered. It is supposed to be bringing with it men and women full of desire to know Who has filled their lives with love because of your testimony.

               You get it? First, God loves you. Second, you are so overjoyed with that love that you make other’s fall in love with God.

               “For just as rain and snow fall from heaven and do not return without watering the earth, making it bud and sprout, and providing seed to sow and food to eat, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty.” (Isaiah 55:10-11).

               The consequence of this tide is simple. The new lovers depart from God to do exactly what you did: fill the hearts, lives and imaginations of others with their Creator’s love. So the “circuit of beneficence” continues! And by the way, your life will be constantly blessed by this tide of love going back and forth from God to you, from you to others and from them back to God. Isaiah 58 describes this experience as that of a “well-watered garden” or a “well whose waters never end”. I don’t know about you, but this sounds awesome to me!

               After all, Jesus himself said it: “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).