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A spontaneous love....

The Vineyard

Dear Friends,

After dinner tonight, something drew all of us (the boys and our guests)outside. Maybe it was just to enjoy the warm evening and the coming of summer, but before long e began throwing a frisbee around, and within a few minutes everyone was throwing the frisbee, competing to see who could catch the most, who could throw the farthest, and so on. For thirty minutes we were all engaged in a spontaneous time of running, laughing, showing our athletic prowess (or lack of) and, in general, just enjoying each other.

It was a totally unpremeditated event that no one gave any thought or preparation to. It just “happened” because a frisbee was nearby and we all felt like playing together. Aren’t those the best times in our lives? And aren’t the things that we plan, and meticulously organize and fret over a bit of a let down once it’s all over; but the fun times that we just fall into the most memorable and satisfying?

It’s been said that love is like this. If you have to plan and prepare to love someone, it’s a sure sign you really don’t love them! But if you do love someone, you find 1001 spontaneous ways to show it—-it just happens. Likewise with God, if I must make myself go to church, or a prayer meeting or even force myself to recite a prayer telling God how awesome and lovely He is, but don’t find myself doing the same thing unexpectedly and off-cue, the love is not real—-it’s forced and “required”—but it is not authentic.

I wonder, at times, if they way we teach children to love God does not lead them to think that loving Him has to be planned, rehearsed, memorized and recited. Real love to God (and to anyone else) must be spontaneous and natural —-something we cannot keep within us! Saint Francis of Assisi was known to break into songs of love to God for no apparent reason—it just leapt out of him.

How can I come to love Him and have this urge, this hunger to just be with Him and, like Francis, break into unrehearsed songs of joy? I have to do at least two things:

1. Realize that there is no greater thing for me to do for myself and for those I love than to spontaneously display my love of God…to God. Truly I am a better man and all those that I know are blessed because of my decision to remove those barriers that restrain me from shouting out my love for God!

2. I must find time to be alone so that He can tell me things that only can be said one-on-one. I need to be alone with Him so that I can tell Him about my day, my challenges, my dreams and hopes, etc, but I also need to hear Him, the love of my soul, remind me of His great love and approval of who I am, where I am going and what I will one day become!

There’s a place and time to formally proclaim our love for God—-and others important to us. But I think that it is the unplanned expressions and acts of love that touch His heart—-and the hearts of those we love—-the most profoundly.

Dean Barley

The Vineyard

336 351 2070

919 360 8493 (Mobile)

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