I thought last Friday was going to be a waste of a day. Why? Because by the time Friday rolled around I had already worked 40 hours that week with about 20 hours yet to go. I had gotten home after 10:00 pm 3 nights last week and I was exhausted. Friday was my only day off. I was not looking forward waking up before 6 am to meet with the insurance adjuster in Roanoke at 7:30 that morning. My car had been pummelled by the hail storm the previous week. The only thing good I could possible think of, was that I would be able to spend some time at Panera drinking coffee and eating carbohydrates! Otherwise the day was a waste. Or at least that was my thoughts at 6:00 am that morning.
God had another idea for what I would consider a waste.
Once at Panera, I settled in a window seat feeling the warm sunshine of my tired face. I sipped on liquid energy and happily munched on a chocolate duet walnut cookie…breakfast of champions. I opened my bible and began to pray, read, and journal. I was a few days behind on my bible study and needed to catch up with my class. As I read the assigned verses my eyes hovered over the page and settled on a different verse:
“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!”- 1John3:1
When I am studying scripture I will look up the definition or even a synonym of a key word. I find that it helps to give more depth and insight to what I am reading. On this particular day, I looked up the definition and synonym for the word ‘lavish’.
Lavish (lav-ish) -adjective 1. expended, bestowed, or occurring in profusion 2. using or giving in great amounts
-verb 3. to expend or give in great amounts or without limit
-Synonyms: extravagant, generous, abundance, profuse, openhanded, wasteful
As you know synonyms are words that have the same meaning. I rewrote 1 John 3:1 in my journal using the different synonyms. When I rewrote that verse to include the word ‘waste’ I sat up a little straighter.
“How great is the love the Father has wasted on us, that we should be called children of God!” -1John3:1
My prideful heart kicked into overdrive. At first I was offended by that synonym ‘wasted’, I much prefer the word ‘lavish’. With a chip on my shoulder, I thought to myselft, I’m not wasted nor wasteful, humpf (was the sound I made to myself). To me, spending hundreds of dollars on a purse is wasteful. But the thought of God wasting his love on me hurts. What does it hurt my pride? Does it hurt my false sense of entitlement?
I reread the list of synonyms again and two words jumped off the page: openhanded and wasteful. Then it hit me. God allowing his son to die on the cross (with a nail hammered into each open hand) for my sins was wasteful. My pride was replaced with humility, realizing I am not worth such a sacrifice.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only son, so that whoever believes in Him will not die, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
God’s timing is always perfect. He chose the week before Easter to remind me of just how much he loves me…and just how much he loves you too! The scripture John 3:16 is probably the most quoted verse during Easter. Using the synonyms above, reread John 3:16 over and over and substitute a synonym for the word ‘gave’.
“For God so loved the world, that He lavishly wasted His only son, so that whoever believes in Him will not die, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
I thought Friday was going to be a waste of my day off. Instead, God lavished me with a reminder of His love. Love that I cannot comprehend, love that I cannot repay, love that I do not deserve.
Psalms 103 illustrates the character of God. But my favorite verse is Psalms 103:10: “He does not treat us as our sins deserve, or repay us according to the way we act.”
Thank you Lord for not treating me the way I deserve. Thank you for your great love that you have lavishly wasted on me. I thank you that because I believe in you, I am called a child of God.
“May you and I be mutually encouraged by each others faith.” Romans 1:12