The idea that the eternal God desires to spend quality time with His creatures is one aspect of faith unique to Christianity. The gods who have been created by the imagination of human minds have always been far removed from people’s daily lives. The gods of the ancient Greek and Roman myths had to be placated or feared. The idea of having a close personal relationship with those deities did not exist.
On the other hand, Jesus indicated that the desire of the entire Trinity—God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit—was to “abide” (make a home) with anyone who responds to God’s love (see John 14:23-26). Jesus promised never to leave His followers but told them that He would be with them forever. In one of His prayers, Jesus said, “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world” (John 17:24; also 14:16-18). Clearly, Jesus desired quality time with all of those who responded to His love.
The design of Jesus’ earthly ministry was an illustration of quality time. He preached to the multitudes, but He spent quality time with twelve individuals. “He appointed twelve that they might be with him” (Mark 3:14). Later He would appoint those men as apostles to carry on His ministry. So in preparation, Jesus spent quality time with them to convince them of God’s love for humankind.
Jesus did not attempt to make His ministry as broad as possible, but rather as deep as possible. He wanted His chosen apostles to experience His love at the deepest possible level. For three and a half years, they shared meals, travels, experiences, and extended conversations. He taught the multitudes in parables, but provided the Twelve with a much fuller explanation of His message during their special times together.
Of course, Jesus also spent quality time with other individuals. On one occasion, He and His disciples visited a woman by the name of Martha and her sister, Mary. After the formality of greetings, Martha busied herself in the kitchen preparing a meal for Jesus and His disciples while Mary sat enthralled with His teaching. Martha was disturbed that her sister was not helping her with the meal. She eventually became so agitated that she actually entered the room, interrupted Jesus, and asked Him if He would please instruct her sister to help her.
“Jesus did not attempt to make His ministry as broad as possible, but rather as deep as possible.”
Jesus did not respond as Martha hoped. He acknowledged her acts of service, yet made it clear that He was also pleased with Mary’s undivided attention. Jesus knew the heart of both sisters. Martha was concerned about doing the proper thing, but she was not motivated by love. In fact, her sense of duty had distracted her from developing a love relationship with Jesus.
My guess is that Martha’s love language was acts of service and Mary’s was quality time, both of which can be valid expressions of one’s love to God. On this occasion, however, Martha’s attention seemed based on ritual rather than relationship. She put performance above the person of Christ. She was doing what came naturally for her—acts of service—but her heart was not in it. In much the same way, those whose primary love language is words of affirmation can often speak empty religious words with no conscious love toward God. All authentic love for God flows from a heart that genuinely seeks to honor Him.
by Gary Chapman
Feel God’s love more personally. Do you realize that the God of the universe speaks your love language, and your expressions of love for...
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