There are two kinds of love in the world:
1) The kind of love that seeks value in its object; and,
2) The kind of love that creates value in its object.
The first kind of love is the most familiar to us. It drives our everyday preferences. For instance, when I say that I love a good book or a good movie or good TexMex, that is the first kind of love in play. When I want the best employee for the hire I need to make, when I am not satisfied until the room is picked up, when I keep skipping songs on my play list until I find just the right one, that is the first kind of love in play.
There’s nothing wrong with such a love. It is what it is. It’s part of everyday life. It’s focused on what I want, what I prefer, what I need. It is a love that is felt when the object of the love is valuable enough, lovely enough or useful enough. The primary question is this: has this thing or person earned my love?
But there is another kind of love in the world. It is more rare.
It does not seek value and take it. It creates value and gives it. Perhaps I can best illustrate this kind of love with a story.
In 1987, my wife was already carrying our first child when we were sent to Missoula, Montana for a year of pastoral internship (our denomination calls it “vicarage”). When Amanda was born later that year, the congregation was thrilled to have a newborn in their midst. She received gifts from many people, and among them was a small gift from a beautiful, elderly woman named Wilma. Wilma was widowed and on a very limited fixed-income. She didn’t have much to spend on the Vicar’s newborn baby girl. But she wanted to give something.
So, Wilma bought Amanda a little plastic baby doll. The baby doll was cheap and only about 8 inches long but it quickly became known as the Wilma Doll. Now, the thing you need to understand about the Wilma Doll right off the bat is that… well… there is no delicate way to put it… it was ugly. And the longer Amanda loved on her Wilma Doll, the uglier it got. Wilma’s facial features began to fade. In time, some mysterious spots formed on it. (My wife boiled Wilma a variety of times trying to get the spots off.) The cheap little dress it came with eventually fell apart and fell away.
You might wonder, why not just get rid of such a doll? It was cheap, plastic, ugly and naked.
Well, here’s the thing. It may have been a cheap, plastic, ugly baby doll. But it just happened to be Amanda’s FAVORITE baby doll. And that made all the difference.
You see, there are two kinds of love in the world. One seeks value. The other creates value. And that’s what Amanda’s love did for the Wilma Doll. The Wilma Doll was not valuable or lovely on its own. But it became so because Amanda loved it so. Here’s the bottom line: the Wilma Doll was of great value in our home because it was AMANDA’S beloved Wilma Doll.
What does this have to do with you?
No doubt, you are like many who doubt you have true value or worth on your own. You think of yourself as nothing but an ugly Wilma Doll. And you may even be right.
But here’s the thing… even if you are nothing more than a Wilma Doll, you just happen to be GOD’S beloved Wilma Doll.
Your deep value does not come from being lovey. Your deep value comes from being loved.
“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God… and that is what we are.” 1 John 3:1