“Love is not a chore, it’s an opportunity.”
The Lord spoke to my heart, “You almost missed that.”
Years ago, as a Marine still on active duty, I got home late one night after a long day. It was about 10 PM when I walked through the door and I was pleasantly surprised to find that my four-year-old daughter, Arianna, was still awake. We were excited to see each other, so we played and talked for about ten or fifteen minutes.
Now, playtime is over and I tell Arianna it’s bedtime. I picked her up and as I started to make the trek to her room, this was the jist of our ensuing conversation.
Arianna: Daddy, would you read me a bedtime story?
Me: No, honey, it’s already late.
Me (sticking to my guns): Nope.
Arianna: Please, please, please…
Me: Not tonight, honey. I still haven’t eaten yet, and I have to wash up.
Arianna (not giving up hope): Please! Just a short one.
Me: Honey, I still have to get my uniform ready for tomorrow.
(I laid her down and prayed over her, I thought I had won. Silly me.)
Arianna: Okay then, would you at least read me a story out of the children’s bible storybook? (Man, even for a four-year-old, this was low.) With her adjusted strategy, Arianna played the guilt-card and bushwhacked me with a plea for a story from the bible. No one can say “No” to that! So, I grabbed the storybook and I began reading the story of Jesus’ first miracle of turning water into wine and how his mother, Mary, told the disciples to do whatever Jesus said. At this point, Arianna interrupted me, “Daddy, who was Mary married to?” Without much thought I said, “Mary was married to Joseph.” Then she blindsided me with, “If Mary was married to Joseph, then why did she have God’s baby?”
As her question dawned on me, mild panic and anxiety came over me and I was frozen momentarily. How do I answer this to a four-year-old? Do I try to get deep and try explain the virgin-birth? What’s an appropriate answer for her age??? The seconds ticked by and images of her fallen faith ran through my mind. “Oh man! Her future faith is gonna hinge on my answer! Aaaggghhhh!”
As I fumbled in my mind for possible, acceptable answers, Arianna interrupted me again. “Daddy! Daddy! Listen to my heart!” I put my ear to her chest, listened to her heartbeat, and said, “I can hear it. It’s going ‘Boom-Boom-Bam… Boom-Boom-Bam!’” She giggled gleefully and said, “Oh wow! Jesus must be in there jammin’!” It seemed like within the next breath she was fast asleep. (Whew!)
Although I was greatly relieved for not having to answer her question, joy, warmth, and wonder filled my heart in the following, brief moments. It was a small, but priceless event that I knew had altered my heart in some way. It was then that I felt the Spirit of the Lord speak to me. “You almost missed that.”
He showed me that my perspective, as I approached her bedtime, was skewed because I was focused on myself — tired, hungry, impatient — and that moment almost never happened. I saw very clearly that I had been looking at reading to Arianna as a chore, a bother, a burden. God spoke right into my spirit-man, “Love is not a chore, it’s an opportunity.”
Honestly, the revelation of that moment — and so many more with my wife and daughters — is forever seared in my memory, in a very special place within my heart. Reading to my kids, talking with them, and playing with them are not chores. Doing the dishes is not a chore. Giving my wife a massage or foot-rub is not a chore. These are opportunities! Opportunities to love, to demonstrate selflessness, instead of selfishness… to lay down my life! This brings me newfound depth to Jesus’ words, “No one has greater love than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (Jn 15:13)
Our heavenly Father gave!
– “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
– “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)
I don’t believe that “loving” is a chore to God. He is love. (1Jn 4:8) And, He forever looks for opportunities to love. Also, I don’t believe that “loving” was a chore to Christ, but more of a direct reflection of His nature. He suffered and He endured because of the love-relationship possibilities that would forever be established and available to all who run to Him!
How about you? And me? Do we have shallow perspectives of love? Isn’t it interesting that the bible also says those who try to save their lives end up losing them, and those who lose their lives for the sake of others end up saving theirs? (Mt 16:25)
Go forth… and remember that “Love is not a chore, it’s an opportunity.”
Beloved, thank you for your continued prayers of faith. Your prayers do make a difference!
Please know that week in and week out, we stay the course and remain focused on making disciples for the Lord! Please know that being full-time missionaries, especially in Japan, is extremely expensive and we could use your help. Please consider partnering with us through financial gifts and offerings. Donations can be made online at Christians In Action. See link below.
Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers! (3Jn 1:2)
In His hands,
Pastor Nick & Pastor Sandy Guerra
To support the Guerra’s ministry online click here – www.cinami.org/guerra