When we were still dating back in college, our campus was holding a fund-raiser of some sort for “Sweetest Day”. I thought (and still think) “Sweetest Day” is a bit silly, but at the same time, how could any guy turn down the opportunity to communicate a bit of love to the girl he’s trying to win over?
They were selling cans of “Crush” soda. For a certain price, you could have a can delivered to the mailbox of your choice. I looked at the price they were charging, looked at how much 12-packs cost at the store, and it was a no-brainer. So I went to the grocery store and got a few 12-packs to surprise her with. Looking back, I imagine everyone going to their mailboxes, and getting a can of “Crush” from their significant other. I wonder if she may have been momentarily disappointed that her beau didn’t find the time to send her one as well.
But I remember the reaction when I brought her out to my car, and opened the trunk. I totally won, whatever game or contest that was. That’s love being efficient.
But recently I’ve been reminded, both in my reading and in life, that more often – love is extremely IN-efficient.
This past Sunday, on the way to church, our 6 year old asked the question, “Daddy, when can we help clean up God’s world?” I asked her what she meant, and she went on, “Well, people litter and God wants us to help take care of His world. When can we help clean it up?”
I looked at my wife, apparently she’d asked that same question the day before when they were out. So it seemed my daughter wanted to show God her love for his world by helping clean it up.
An efficient response would have been: Create a sign-up sheet. Get a large group of people with large bags and pokers. To plan out a mapped area of who goes where, and collect as much garbage as possible.
Well, they wanted to stay in their dresses (“It’s more comfortable, dad.”), so I at least made them roll up the sleeves. I gave a trash bag to a 3, 4, and 6 year old girl and we loaded into the van. I told them I would drive until they asked me to stop, so they needed to be looking for an area that needed to be cleaned. We pulled over in a pretty high-traffic area, and unloaded. We walked up and down a sidewalk, pulling small pieces of trash out of yards and public places for about an hour. Finally our oldest daughter said, “Okay dad, I think we’ve done enough for now.” We loaded back into the van, and took our small bags of trash to a nearby park to throw away…and enjoy the weather a bit.
It was frustratingly inefficient at times. My daughters weren’t in “find trash and throw it away” mode. They were in “take a walk, and discover trash by accident and make dad touch it” mode for the most part. We didn’t exactly win any awards for how great the sidewalk looked afterward.
For God to come as Jesus was an amazingly inefficient way to make all things new. A vulnerable baby boy? To an unmarried young virgin? Certainly many of us, would have chosen another route for God to take. It’s already taken thousands of years. But His Love continues to move and accomplish toward completion (Phil 1:6). Likewise, adopting one orphan, is an inefficient way to bring change to the people living in the DRC. Yet, God has called, and we’re following…believing that just as Christ has modeled – sometimes loving like God doesn’t look efficient to the world.
My daughters learned that they’re capable to help clean up God’s world. That whatever they have to offer, is acceptable and pleasing to God. That their love, even at this age, makes God’s heart skip a beat…
Where has your love been inefficient in great ways recently??