“In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us…” – 1 Jn. 4:10

Growing up, I was taught the importance of serving others and working hard. In my family, I remember that our love was oftentimes measured by how much of ourselves we sacrificed for our work, and how well we anticipated the needs of others.

I held onto the general principles of serving and working hard through my school and work life. I proudly came to be known as a busy-bee. In school, I sacrificed sleep and pulled all-nighters. I worked overtime regularly, sometimes to the point of burn-out. In friendships, I gave much of my time and resources though they went unappreciated. The negative side of my proclivity to hard work and service was the frustration/anger/resentment I felt when others failed to anticipate my needs or show gratitude. What was I missing? As I grew, I came to realize that my hard work and service was no longer coming from a genuine place of love. I found that when I work/serve out of a place of frustration/anger/resentment, I am no longer loving the way God loves.

One weekend while visiting my parents, I scraped my knee on a piano bench. Consumed in my own cloud of obligations at the time— work, school, maybe both—I cursed aloud at the bench (which I’d hurt myself on before). I was angry, bitter, annoyed, and focused on my own pain. What I didn’t know was that my Dad had seen what happened from the second floor. While I tended my wound and resumed my work, he quietly took the bench to the garage, fixed it so it wouldn’t hurt me anymore, and returned it to its place by the piano.

Perhaps God’s love is like the love my Dad demonstrated that day. Perhaps God’s love is quiet and unassuming, not blind-sighted, frustrated, or resentful. Perhaps God’s love is not limited by how much time He has for me, or even by whether I acknowledge His blessings. Today’s readings and Gospel remind me that God’s love comes from a place of abundance—that God gives and serves freely, compassionately, and joyfully. And in that, I feel a great comfort and hope that I might love more similarly to the way He loves me.

Have I tried to serve, give, or love from a place of limited resources?
Lord, help me to love the way You love—abundantly.

Krystelle Robeniol