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Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday Freelance: Give and Take

"The true measure of a man is how he treats someone
who can do him absolutely no good."
~ Ann Landers

Friday Freelance: Give and Take

I'd embarrass my children if I told you how old they'll be before I quit blowing bubbles on their bellies—as if I even knew. It's harder with the older ones. You have to catch them when they're sleeping.

They'll always be my babies. Not that they're babied. I subscribe to the Amish philosophy which says that from birth to six expect children to take more than they give, from six to twelve expect them to give about the same they take, and after twelve expect them to give more than they take.

This is surely why the Creator made babies so cute. It's not so bad when an infant cries, upchucks (or worse) on you, or keeps you awake with sickness. They're cuddly and helpless and evoke sympathy. We had one who was colicky and drove us to our limits. But knowing she was in pain compelled me to draw upon an inner reserve of strength from God I didn't know existed.

They took more than they gave at that age—but they did give. They responded with smiles and affection and love.

For if you love those who love you, what reward have you?
Do not even the tax collectors do the same?
~ Matthew 5:46 (NKJV)

Unconditional love is willing to give without receiving, in ways big and small. It will care for the elderly invalid who curses without recognition. It will feed the homeless even if they do not say 'thank you.' It will yield an opening to the car trying to turn into heavy traffic.

It will die for us while we are still sinners in rebellion against God.

But extension of unconditional love does not constitute relationship. Relationship means there will be give and take of validation, and respect, and grace extended.

Jesus gave us numerous instructions which make for harmony with our world, ourselves, and our fellow man. Then He summed up everything in two simple commands: love God with all that you are, and love your neighbor as you love yourself.

He extended unconditional love to us when we gave Him nothing in return. He then invites us to share relationship with Him by returning that love.

After all He has done for us, it seems too little. In His eyes, it is all.

"They do not love that do not show their love."
~ William Shakespeare

Tomorrow's post: This message in a song

Contrasting points-of-view, questions and feedback are invited. Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2009, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images


  1. It is all about love, because He is love.

  2. I am grateful that my 6yrs old son still like to cuddle. And when I am so tired God gives me strength for my baby. But they are mine. I pray God to show me how to love my neighbor not just by words.

  3. Oh, what a delightful post, Anne. Even though we are forever lambs on His shoulders, completely dependant on Him for our every need, even still He gives power through the Spirit to live out His truth in love. It has and continues to baffle the world and bring open hearts to Him in these days of waiting, when our hearts cry, "Even so, come Lord Jesus!".

    May God bless you richly on this Friday.

  4. That unconditional love thing is tough.

    Trying to explain to people whose feelings have been hurt by the ungrateful homeless person that we do it because we love not for what we get out of it is very hard!

  5. Denise, the most wonderful thing about love is the way it multiplies and magnifies itself in expression.

    Natasa, praise the Lord for giving us love and enabling us to express love with infinite variety!

    Gwen, I have to hold my breath at times to not grow impatient.

    Peter, it is tough. Also helps us evaluate why we do what we do, and if our motives are pure. It's never to late to start loving better, tho.


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