Economy Destroyed by the Love Lavisher

More and more God’s revealing to me my economical bent. I like to keep things even. Get a tally board. Keep track! I want to see my earnings! You give me a gift, I’ve got to write you a thank you note, or at least give you a thank you hug. You invite me over, now I’ve got to invite you over. Gah, what an endless cycle! Fun gets sucked out of it all because my earnings never measure up, and a balanced scale one moment can surprisingly become imbalanced the next.

For my birthday this January, I was given a surprise party like none other. I had no clue what my party planning friends were up to (they were sneaky mcsneakersons)! It’s impossible to describe all the delightful minutes of that night, but I’ll say this: not only was it a rockin’ party, but it was full of everything I love. All my friends and family (mom and dad came and lauren and mark sent videos) put on a show, performing some of my favorite musical numbers! All my favorite foods were in attendance (pizza n’ twizzlers- don’t judge) and they had me teach some Zumba dances. Basically, it was a night where people participated in things I love, not because they necessarily loved those things (it’s super scary to go up in front of people and perform) but because they loved me. How overwhelming. I sat in the audience, the receiver of such love, shaking my head in incredulity. Again, I don’t deserve this, so what could I do? Nothing but receive. I laughed heartily at my silly, amazing beloveds. And it was as if God had gotten a megaphone and yelled out across the mountaintops and the seas and all the houses over all the villages, that He loved me. With that resounding yell, my carefully measured scales were dashed to the ground.

What is more amazing is that I’m not alone in this undeserved party. No, no, God’s turning our personal economies upside-down right and left. God’s love for all of us is literally out of control. Wait, so love keeps no record of wrongs?! Do we realize he’s not keeping records, balances, or clothing us in stained attire? All of it is literally wiped away because of Christ. I’ve heard that 1 Cor. 13 passage before, but are we getting that truth into our everyday lives?

That’s where Ephesians 1:4 blows me away: “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.” Before we walked around and started being awesome or making mistakes, God chose us. It was nothing we performed or achieved to deserve God’s love. He just chose us before the creation of the world. If that doesn’t chip away at our innate works righteousness, I don’t know what will.

I’ll end with a vignette that personally answers my question above, “…are we getting that truth into our everyday lives?” The answer for me is, “Slowly but surely.” Today, when I looked inside my school mailbox, I was pleasantly surprised to find a york peppermint pattie there. I love york peppermint patties! Who doesn’t? This was my thought process that immediately followed: “Yay, chocolate! That’s so sweet. Wait, who gave it to me? No name. It’s an anonymous gift. Wow, that’s cool. Is it for me? Maybe it’s a mistake. No, I’m going to assume it’s for me. But wait, I want to thank them! Aw man, I can’t write them or text them or thank them now. I owe someone, and I don’t know who that someone is.” I started to get frustrated when the Spirit pricked me. The reality is I definitely don’t deserve a york peppermint pattie, and yet a kind person decided to lavish me with love by giving me one. No strings attached. So I will receive, and give thanks to my God. For he is the original love lavisher, and he is teaching me to joyfully receive with a thankful and humble heart. Oh how the gospel turns our world upside down! Thank you, my Father, for your megaphone loud love, for family and friends who put on such a surprise party, for the york peppermint pattie, and for Christ who was weighed and found wanting so that I would be weighed and found “nothing wanting.”

A blessed Ash Wednesday to you all.

(linking up at www.quitetheblog.com/)

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12 thoughts on “Economy Destroyed by the Love Lavisher

  1. Lisbeth, dear Lisbeth. I needed to read this post (I, too, am a scale measurer) and the truth is, I need to re-read it every day to be reminded that my Creator knows no scales. The scales were eliminated forevermore when Jesus Christ died and paid the price once and for all. Hallelujah!

    I recently heard a Tim Keller sermon called “Justified By Faith” that sent my scales crashing down, as well. I was convicted of how often my heartache and anxiety are a result of my false quest for justification through works and merit and abiding by the law. I need to continually repent of my false sense of righteousness and false justification and trust in God’s free justification.

    Lastly, I was brought to tears (once again) to hear your story of the night of your surprise birthday party. I’m so glad that you heard God’s voice through the megaphone and most of all, that you were able to receive it. That can be hard sometimes, but when we let down the walls to receive His love, we are never the same. Nor are our economies.

    Thank you for this.

    1. Wow. Thank you for your touching and thoughtful response, my sweet sister! As I read your writing of your conviction of your “false quest for justification through works,” I couldn’t help but resonate. We are truly alike in many ways, not just in our voices/facial expressions! Today someone told me 2 things I forget (with my economical tendencies) are justification and adoption. Adoption is especially key because I forget that I belong to Him. I pray for the fruit of remembering we’re not orphans anymore, and that we’re justified in Christ for both of us! Love you.

  2. Thank you Lisbeth! I am a “professional” scale watcher (meaning that we are in full time ministry) but I’m in recovery!

    God gave me a huge boost towards health in 2009 in the form of breast cancer. For four months the beloved people of Ocean Grove, some of whom I’d never met, fed our family. Yes, each night at 5:30 someone appeared at the front door with dinner. When chemo made everything taste like metal, they stopped using foil. When our son came home from college, they prepared more food. One friend did our grocery shopping every single week, yes, every Monday I came home from work and the fridge was full. It is only when faced with the reality that we cannot pay back grace do we realize its true value.

    I recall my hubby saying that for almost 20 years he had been rallying folks to provide this kind of relief and until it was done for us, he had no real idea of how valuable (and neccessary) it is. God’s goodness in Christ’s sacrifice has no equal and our human minds begin to comprehend how big His love really is when we are blessed with the expression of human love. How very, very blessed we are!

    To God be the glory!!

    1. I love your phrase of being a recovering “professional scale watcher.” Me too! And thank you so much for sharing your heart and experience with breast cancer. Your statement of “God gave me a huge boost towards health…in the form of breast cancer” is so powerful. And beautiful. It’s so true that it’s hard to comprehend and grasp God’s love…I’m seeing that we really only understand a teensy slice of it. Yes, to God be the glory! I’m thankful for you, Nancy, for your nearness to Christ, for your beautiful words, for your interest in me (and my blog), and for your friendship!

  3. I don’t think that I have ever read anything that describes the grace and love of God that has ever touched my heart like this blog. And your description of that heavenly economy…… Thank you, thank you, thank you. Allowing others to bless us, just because they love and care for us, is not easy for everyone. When we allow them to bless us and we graciously receive their gift, whatever it may be, the door opens for them to receive joy and blessing from the Father. Thank you Lisbeth!!

    1. Oh Judy! How encouraging are your words. I am so blessed that you read my blog and also comment! I sometimes wonder if my words fall on deaf ears out there in the internet, so it’s refreshing to know that not only are beloved people reading it, but they’re interacting and responding to what I write. I so appreciate your thought about allowing people to bless us actually allows them to receive blessing from the Father. Thank you for opening my eyes to that lovely truth!

  4. Well, we know partly where you and Lauren’s scale-measuring came from—your Marmie!! So thanks for this reminder that God keeps no records of wrongs or even of our righteous works…just lavishes love on us so we can lavish love on others without expecting anything in return. What a joy!

    Loved reading what Lauren, Nancy, and Judy have written in response as well. Thank you for sharing about the extravagant and simple ways God is loving you! xxooxxoo

    1. Maybe we were a teensy eensy bit influenced by you (and many others), but it was already there in our hearts! Thanks for encouraging us to dash the scales, and turn to our Heavenly Father in continual prayer. You are a love lavisher yourself…bestowing gifts upon us and serving us without asking anything in return. And I love that reminder that God keeps no record of wrongs OR our righteous acts…I need to remember that second part. Thanks for reading Mom, and lavishing love on me through your faithful, wise, insightful comments. You are a treasure to me.

  5. Dearest Lisbeth… what wonders your words are! So very blessed by your articulated craftsmanship – you’re a closet writer… hope the world discovers your gift soon! 😉 I see you already have some blog fans who sing your praises… of which, some LITERALLY sang their praises for you that night you so sweetly described. It was an absolute joy to tackle the scary stage as it was to see your delight grow throughout the evening. That night was a gift for us, too, and all in the name of honoring our dear friend. We felt the delight of the Father was close at hand – that evening was but a taste of the glories of heaven… pizza and all. 😉

    Thank you for your thoughtful thanks to us – but even more, thank you for using reflection on that night as a springboard to cast our eyes on Him whose giving far exceeds our own, and whose balance is forever cast in our favor from union with His Son. Yes, economies of the heart… GREAT image and one that calls me to consider where I have made loving a mere business transaction – I count up what I owe and if I have the resources (or heart!) to pay it back and always I find my balance falls short – I can feel quite defeated when I know I could never rightly repay others OR… I can rise up in arrogance thinking I have actually exceeded what I owe and then… fall short yet again for having loved to wait in eager anticipation for the love I’ll “surely” back. Sheesh, what a mess I find myself in! I can’t seem to win. You’ve made me think of Romans 13:8: “Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.” In trying to live this verse out, as you so said so well, we can go about it two ways: 1) give all we have in our human hearts, wallets, and time yet end up with a thin spirit or 2) let love pour forth from an overflowing heart that has received much, having meditated on how very sweet and generous is the Father’s love for us. Thank God that we are called to rest and receive this perfect love – our limited love pales in comparison, is filled with holes, empty and selfish at best.

    Lisbeth, I find your post so devotional this morning… thanks for springing my heart into motion as it ponders the greatest Love known… what a gift this was for my Spirit.
    ….How can I ever repay you!? 😉

    Many thanks to you and even more to Him whose love is steadfast and sure,

    “Neesha” (…and once in a lifetime, Miss Dolittle).

    1. Who you calling a closet writer? That’s YOU my friend. Thank you for YOUR thoughts, which today, many months later is also devotional for me. I love that you pointed us to Romans 13:8- love is the fulfillment of the law. How easily I forget that, and want to fulfill the law in other ways.
      And in reference to my 27th birthday, indeed it was a glimpse of heaven…pizza n’ twizzlers n’ zumba n’ all!

  6. Lisbeth,
    I reread this and the comments above after talking to you tonight. Your words and your gifted commentators really helped me focus on The Love Lavisher and how amazing that “gracefull” love is.
    I remember how marvelous it was that night at the intermission when you had the presence of mind and spirit and emotions to identify and speak about the love you were receiving in such a moving way–in testimony to what God was doing in your life.
    Your closing line, “Christ who was weighed and found wanting so that I would be weighed and found “nothing wanting” is an amazing metaphor. How well and often we need to remember we are found “nothing wanting” by His love, no matter how fallible and imperfect we appear to be in our own mirrors. Thanks for the beautifully crafted reminder.
    Love,
    Dad

    1. Dad, I was so glad that you and Mom could be there that night. I felt so lavished with love by you two coming all that way! It’s good to remember that we are found “nothing wanting.” I’m glad you I was reminded of that my you all at my party, that you were reminded of that by my words here, and then I was reminded of it (AGAIN) through your comment. The body of Christ is so sweet and so needed.

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