I want to share a short story from author and preacher Perry Noble. The conversation comes between him and his three year old daughter.
The other night I was putting Charisse to bed and I told her that I love her. She looked me right in the eyes and told me, “I love you too daddy.” I then told her, “Charisse…I love you more than you could ever imagine!” She said, “What does imagine mean?” So I told her, “Basically I love you bigger than you could ever think about or dream.” Her eyes got really wide and she looked at me with the most serious look I’ve ever seen on her face and then asked me, “Do you love me more than 18 dollars?
Noble, Perry. “Do You Love Me More Than 18 Dollars? | Blog | Perry Noble.” Perry Noble. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Oct. 2015.
Eighteen was the highest number his three year old could count to, so to her, $18 was the biggest amount she could “ever think about or dream.” I love this story for two reasons. One, I can’t wait to have kids of my own! Two, it speaks volumes of the Father’s love for his children. I’m speaking of God’s love for you and me. I have heard that if you say something over and over and over again, it starts to sound trivial and slightly silly. If there is one thing that deserves repetition it’s the fact that God loves you. This phrase will withstand the test of time and though some may say “God loves you” has become trivial in our ever-changing culture, the fact of the matter is not that it’s said too much. I believe the fact of the matter is that it’s not said or lived out enough.
“God loves you” is a phrase that has withstood the test of time, so when we approach the topic of showing this love to others, it has become this daunting task that we’re afraid to do. I wholeheartedly believe that the problem with our approach is not the phrase “God loves you” but is in fact actually showing others what that love is all about. We know as followers of Christ that we are to tell of his greatness and to show that greatness through our actions, but we (and I say this with as much grace and love as I can) have failed at showing that love to those either outside our immediate circle or those who are less “approachable” than we’re used to.
God’s love exceeds any cultural barrier man has set up. God’s love exceeds any preconceived notion we may have of who we believe will be receptive to the gospel. The truth is that we do not know who will listen and who will hear the message but not actually hear what we say. It is not our job to pick and choose who gets to hear the gospel. It is our job to show the same love that was displayed for us on the cross of Jesus Christ. Paul said that God showed his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). There is no specific group exempt from this truth: God showed his love for us (sinners) in that while we (sinners) were still sinners, Christ died for us (sinners). Paul also says that all have fallen short of the glory of God and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus (Romans 3:23-24). Did you notice that? While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us and even though we have fallen short of the glory of God, we are justified (made right) in God’s sight because of what Jesus did on the cross for us.
I wholeheartedly believe that we cannot hear the gospel enough. Sometimes we read or hear about the love displayed for us on the cross of Jesus Christ and we (without disrespect) flippantly pass through it in our minds and miss what Jesus did for us. We can never get to a point in our walk with Christ where we no longer need the gospel. The gospel always applies to our lives no matter how long we have been coming to church. In the account of the Prodigal Son we see Jesus talking to the sinners and tax collectors, but that was not his only audience. Jesus was talking to both the religious elite and the worst of the worst when he talked about God’s welcoming love (Luke 15).
God’s love is bigger than 18 dollars. God’s love is bigger than we can ever image or dream. That means that God’s love exceeds any boundary we try to place on it. Any person, not matter how unapproachable, deserves to hear about the all-encompassing love that God displayed for us on the cross. We as Christians are ambassadors for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20). That means we do his work to show this love because we have known this love in our lives. I want to encourage you to seek out those you may have neglected to share the gospel with. I know it’s difficult and quite daunting at times, but if we don’t plant that seed, they may never get a chance to know this great love.
Romans 5:8 // Romans 3:23-24 // Luke 15 // 2 Corinthians 5:20 // 1 Corinthians 3:6-9