“Then Samuel told him everything, and hid nothing from him. And he said, ‘It is the Lord. Let Him do what seems good to Him’ ” (1 Samuel 3:18).

OUR LOVE FOR GOD AND OUR DOING OF HIS WILL OFTEN INVOLVE AN UNSPOKEN BARGAIN. We will do “this” . . . if He will do “that.” Our bargaining may be so subtle that we ourselves do not see what we’re doing, but the expectation is nevertheless in our minds that if we do what is right, God will act in certain ways. And if not, we ask, “Then what is the point of serving God?”

It is not wrong to have deep desires, nor is it wrong to make fervent supplications of God. But our desires must be humble, and our supplications must not be demanding. Our doing of what is right must never be contingent on whether God sees things our way in regard to how the universe should be run. It may challenge our faith to do so, but we must always acquiesce in God’s will regardless of how His will may affect us personally. In the familiar words of Eli: “It is the Lord. Let Him do what seems good to Him.” God’s sovereignty over His creation is absolute. He is worthy to be worshiped just because He is our Creator, even when His purposes don’t fit conveniently into our own plans.

Much has been written about the importance of unconditional love in human relationships. We acknowledge, for example, how important it is for parents to love their children unconditionally, thus affirming their inherent worth and dignity as human beings. Nowadays, “performance-based” love is seen as something quite undesirable. But is it any less important for us to love God unconditionally? Should our love for Him be based on His “performance,” as measured by the frequency with which He meets our expectations in this world? And not only love, shouldn’t the following things also be unconditional with respect to God: our reverence, gratitude, obedience, service, and allegiance?

The love to which we should aspire is one that loves God for His own sake, worships Him without compensation, and serves Him without self-interest. These things aren’t easy in a world where most of us listen to station WIFM (What’s In It For Me?).

“Some people want to see God with their eyes as they see a cow, and to love Him as they love their cow — for the milk and cheese and profit it brings them. This is how it is with people who love God for the sake of outward wealth or inward comfort” (Meister Eckhart).

Gary Henry — WordPoints.com + AreYouaChristian.com

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