Thursday, May 24, 2018

A Reckless Love

“Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights 'til I'm found, leaves the ninety-nine
I couldn't earn it, and I don't deserve it, still, You give Yourself away
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God, yeah”
–lyrics to Reckless Love of God

The kids and I were listening to this song last night, and my son asked about that lyric, “leaves the ninety-nine.” It’s a strange text without a little context. The Ninety-Nine refers to a story Jesus tells in the gospel of Luke. Jesus is being criticized by the temple leadership for wasting his time with what they would consider faithless people. Jesus tells three stories in a row, all with similar plot lines. In one, he tells of a farmer who leaves 99 of his sheep in open country to go rescue one lost sheep. Jesus says this is how God’s love is. Jesus doesn’t look at these people as riffraff, but as people who don’t yet know how much God loves them and desires them to be part of God’s family. Jesus chooses to love them, to spend his time and energy on them, even if it means sacrificing time at the temple. It is a reckless act to those in the temple. It after all is not how ministry is done.
               As I explained this to the kids, we ended up talking about some of the “reckless” ministry our family has been part of in La Fontaine. Ministry that wasn’t always approved of, but was vital to reach those who didn’t know how much God loved them.
               Then as we were going to school this morning, we heard another song on the radio that took on a whole different meaning. 

I wish somebody would have told me babe
Someday, these will be the good old days
All the love you won't forget
And all these reckless nights you won't regret
Someday soon, your whole life's gonna change
You'll miss the magic of these good old days
-lyrics to Good Old Days

            This morning a line popped out in this song. I bet you guess which one, right? “And all these reckless nights you won't regret.” It felt like a heavenly confirmation that those nights of recklessly loving people outside our church doors won’t be regretted.

With every move, there are things that are hard to let go, but there are moments when God whispers, “I’ve got this.” When you know that the risks you took for God’s kingdom really were worth it. When you know no matter what the future holds, God has transformed hearts and minds through your offering of love.

If we are really doing what Jesus did and loving people, people who are often hard to love, we are going to have some reckless nights. We are going to take some risks. We are probably going to have some people tell us we did it wrong. But God tells us,  we won’t regret those reckless nights when we go looking for that one lost sheep.