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Love: Giving that Benefits Others

At the end of the snow season in March, I walked into a Sears store. They had something I wanted, and I had something they wanted. When the salesman discovered I wanted a snow blower, he got excited.  He exclaimed, “This is a great time to get a snow blower because our best model just went on sale. Not only is it on sale, but it has a five-year warrantee.  We will come to your house to fix it if it needs repairs or parts.  And not only that, it features an easy-start. You do not have to pull a cord. Simply push a button.” I replied, “I’ll buy it.” We walked together to the counter to finalize the sale. On the way, he said something funny about customers buying snow blowers out of season, and I laughed. And I told him about trying to buy a snow blower at Home Depot, and he chuckled. In the end, we shook hands. I even got a back-pat at the end as I walked away. Yes, I liked this guy because he gave me a sale, a warranty, and a good snow blower. He liked me because I was an easy sell.  He was a nice guy, but I do not call it love; I call it shopping. 

When we are nice to someone, and they are nice to us in return, God does not call it love. He calls it shopping. Jesus clarifies what it means to love. Giving that benefits others, not ourselves.

Did you ever notice when Jesus used his power to help people, His power increased? At first, Jesus turned water into wine and healed withered hands. But later, he gave sight to blind people, and dead people walked out of their tombs.

I am 62 years old and no longer the same person I was in my younger years. I would rather train and run a marathon than go to Disney World. I would rather read a scholarly article on Scripture than go to a movie. I prefer silence rather than listening to music.

When I was younger, I went to a concert, and toward the end of the show, I noticed people walking toward the stage and leaving gifts. Soon the stage was filled with stuffed animals, flowers, and boxes. I wondered why people were giving the band so much stuff. Is not the ticket price enough? Later I learned that the band does not keep anything; it all goes to the local children’s hospital. Imagine if you were a kid in a hospital and your favorite rock star brought you a giant teddy bear. The reason why people were giving these gifts was because they knew that they would bear a great impact on young people. That is why God gives us gifts, knowing that we can greatly impact people. Think of it this way. You can make a lot of money if you are gifted. But what good is it because you can’t take it when you die? But when your gift benefits someone else, you can carry that experience with you all eternity. Giving that benefits others is the new definition of love. Anything else is shopping.

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