“I Don’t Love You For What You Do, I Love You For Who You Are.”
January 18, 2010 by Christian Business Daily
It was sometime during the 1st couple weeks of October that these words hit my ears after nearly 60 minutes of brisk walking. I had been doing a lot of praying, lamenting, and accusing during this walk, and this short little phrase turned it all around for me…
It had been just a couple weeks after my “episode” – which I discussed at length in other blog posts – and I was still in the beginning weeks of my sabbatical and just starting to feel some strength and energy come back to my body after many days of weakness and fatigue. I felt pretty good this day, and I recall it was a pretty fair weather day. I set out for my usual trek in the streets of Palos and decided on a particular path that day. I figured on a path that would be a little over 2.5 miles, so I could be out for at least an hour.
Sometimes, as I did this day, I chose to leave my MP3 player at home and instead spend some time in my own thoughts. Many of these thoughts were prayers, perhaps better defined as my attempts to reconcile what I had been going through with Father and figure out what the heck He was doing. I didn’t really like being laid out physically, and was not enjoying carrying the labels “anxious” and “stressed out” given to me by my doctors in front of friends, family, and staff members.
As someone who was a leader in my local church, a CEO of a company, and dedicated family man, this was a major blow to my ego, and a major disruption to boot. After all, it forced me to take sabbaticals from my company and my church office – at quite likely the most sensitive and inopportune time for both. I was needed in both places due to the complexity of issues facing my business and my church, but God decided to take me out of action. How could God make such a foolish decision? Doesn’t he know I’m needed? What will become of my company? my church? This is like pulling Tom Brady in the 4th quarter of a Super Bowl, like having Tony LaRussa sit at home for the 7th game of the World Series!
So as I was walking through Palos some 2 weeks later, I spent a good 50 minutes or so sorting and sifting through things in my mind, and spending a lot of time asking God for an answer to this and an answer to that. I took some time to review with him everything I did for him these many years and wondering what it was all for.
Then I stopped talking. I guess I ran out of things to say and then just started walking the last few blocks home. It must have been about 5 minutes or so where I really wasn’t doing much deep thinking or praying when deep in my spirit, I heard these words spring up and gently hit my ears as if someone had whispered them in the softest voice you can imagine…”I Don’t Love You For What You Do, I Love You For Who You Are”.
I heard it as if it was audible, and I was absolutely aware of who spoke it to me. It wasn’t my inner voice, it wasn’t something I heard and was recalling. This came in a still, small voice, and I immediately knew it was Father. It wasn’t scary, it wasn’t something that brought me to my knees. It was my heavenly Father letting me know a deep truth that he waited for a perfect time to reveal it to me. The time when I was ready to hear it, and a time that I was able to perceive it.
It funny how Father does that, but he knows me better than I know myself. Shoot, I figured that everything I had done for him in the past counted for something and it was “on account” that I could draw on when necessary. I just assumed that God was an accountant and that I had been filling in my credit column for years and had a lot of deposits banked for the right time.
Well, I realized in a moment that my theology was a tad askew. In fact, in a single moment I realized that my value to my Father, both here on earth and in heaven, was not my record and accomplishments, but simply…me. I, you, everyone are all loved by a heavenly father who values us for who we are, not for what we do.
I was reminded of my October walk this past weekend. As we drove to my daughter’s basketball game on this cold, January day, we passed a favorite ice cream parlor of ours. She asked me, “If I get 10 rebounds today, Dad, can we get ice cream?”. For a second I thought that nifty carrot would indeed produce a motivation in her to help her play better, but I surrendered that thought to one the Holy Spirit gave me. I said, “Honey, how about I buy you ice cream after the game just because I love you?”.
Now, I can tell you this thought could have only come from a heart and mind that Father has put inside of me. The look on my daughters face was brighter than the sun, and it was passed on to my wife and my other daughter at the same time. The instant these words left my mouth and hit the atmosphere, I was shown a concrete and never forgettable memory of what my heavenly father thinks about me.
“I love you for who you are, not for what you do.”
Sometimes, when things go bad, we feel jinxed. We feel like everyone is out to get us. We don’t think things will ever go right again. We reason in our minds that it must have been something we did wrong, something we said or did that caused God to look away and cause things to go to hell. We feel as if we didn’t do enough to deserve a blessing, so we feel that everything we’ve done is in vain. Perhaps we bargain with God and promise to do this, that, and the other thing in exchange for this blessing we seek.
However, Father doesn’t play that game. He gives us things we need, and things we don’t need all the time – JUST BECAUSE HE LOVES US. We can get all worked up over the latest crisis and problem in our business and feel that God has left us hanging. Nothing could be farther from the truth. He didn’t go anywhere, and he’s right there with you, dealing with each and every problem that come along the way. And he’s also providing you the gifts and answers to each and every situation that you need, just because he loves us.
What he’s taught me is that within every problem, there’s growth, and with growth, there’s another step in becoming everything he’s made me to be.
Thank you, Abba.
I would love to hear your comments!