Sunday, January 18, 2009

A debt of love

I want to be very clear that I did not write this. My very good friend Jenny did and it's one of those things that I keep coming back to.

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Love makes me feel poor. Perhaps someday, love will feel completely full. All quenching and no thirst. All rich sufficiency, no ache. But I wonder.

I have been thinking about the verse in Romans, "Owe no one anything except a debt of love" (13:8). I listen to compassionate friends, to my own heart, and I hear that it is love that graciously reveals our poverty.

Here, perhaps, is how it works: Love inspires giving. "For God so loved the world, that he gave..." (John 3:16). And so we give. But it is not enough. We can never love enough. We are vessels, not oil. We run out of resources, but our heart still goes out. We check our pockets: empty. We scour the closet: crumbs. We run to the field: just skies and horizon.

Love teaches us to see the need of others, but there are needs we cannot fill. It teaches us to give, but is, in itself, only part of the gift. It teaches us gratitude for the love we've received, but cannot teach the expression of a full heart: there simply aren't words. We feel our poverty, and it breaks us.

And so we finally run to God.

Here, we again are debtors. Suddenly, there are resources not present before. Suddenly, our hearts expand. Suddenly, the Spirit moves. It is grace, and we are glorious debtors.

Let's live lives of tremendous poverty.

"Many waters cannot quench love,
neither can floods drown it.
If one offered for love all the wealth of his house,
it would be utterly scorned."
Song of Solomon 8:7

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