Something that a few people know – and more people probably don’t need to know – about me is that I tend to really enjoy films and stories that, really, most guys shouldn’t admit to liking. I can’t help it, though, combine being a writer with being a bit of a romantic (just look at how sickening some of the song lyrics are via the links to the left) and you end up with someone who gets caught up in the story of most movies that I watch.
One movie that I do quite like, though, is The Phantom of the Opera. I haven’t ever seen the stage production, so I am not about to comment too much on the story itself; however, one song that I really like is the song, All I Ask Of You.
The song, though, has Raoul and Christine saying to one another that all they ask of one another is love.
“Love me, that’s all I ask of you.”
Here in Deuteronomy 10, God says the same thing to the Israelites. Actually, he quite literally says the same thing.
And now, O Israel, what does the LORD yoru God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the LORD’s commands and decrees that I am giving to you today for your own good? ~ Deuteronomy 10:12-13
I loved reading this chapter, it goes on and just acknowledges and declares the greatness of God.
Ultimately, this is the essence of why everything has happened, though. God wants us to love him. Ultimately that’s all he asks of us. Jesus himself, when asked what the greatest commandment is, quoted Deuteronomy 6 in saying that the greatest commandment is that we love the LORD our God with all our heart, soul and mind.
All he asks of us is love.
Now the reality is, though, that more flows from love. When you truly love someone, you don’t want to hurt them, you want to be with them, you want to make them happy, you want to see them smile – and when they do smile, that’s all the reward that is needed just to make everything you give to them worth it.
On Friday night last week, I was in Perth at the YWAM base again, and the message was on Compassion. I took notes, but during the service a thought came to me that I also wrote down:
“The true measure of love is not in how much you are willing to give, or able to receive. The true measure of love is how much you are willing to sacrifice.”
I’ve been caught up in the past with this mentality – not consciously – of ‘buying’ people’s love. I’ve had this mentality that says to show my love, I need to keep giving stuff to them. Which is kind of strange really, because when it comes to the famous ’5 love languages’, gifts isn’t actually one of my strong ones. The thing is, though, that giving isn’t really a strong measure of love, if it’s not easy to give. It’s in the sacrifice.
See if I (and I’ll finish with this thought) consider the difference between a gift and a sacrifice, by turning to my favourite source for word definitions, Merriam Webster, I come out with the following:
Gift: something voluntarily transferred by one person to another without compensation.
Sacrifice: an act of offering to a deity something precious.
To me, the key word there is precious. When I think of defining something as precious, I consider that as being the personal worth of something. It doesn’t have to be a material value, either, time is a commodity that is precious to many of us these days, and perhaps that’s the best way to love God, giving him our time.
For me, the big one being worked on at the moment is control. It’s extremely hard for me to let go of control over my own life and actions, and while I was in Perth, God really brought that to the forefront and said that it’s time we start working on that. It’s a sacrifice, though, to relinquish control.
But in the sacrifice, that’s the demonstration of real love. In releasing what we hold on to most tightly to God, that’s when we really say, “I love you.”
And that’s all he asks.