Let’s say I want to “do something” for Queen Elizabeth, something that would mean a lot to her, that would somehow make her better off. She’s one of the richest people in the world and doesn’t exactly have any shortages. What would I give her? She likes purses and those hats… but there’s not much point to give her another purse. A knick-knack? Probably not. Maybe I stop by the palace and wash a couple of cars for her? Honestly, what do I give Queen Elizabeth? She’s got everything.
The question is not entirely irrelevant. As a Christian, I am called to serve God and give gifts to him, especially at Lent. If it’s hard to know what to give Queen Elizabeth, then what in the world can I do for God that will mean anything to him?
It would help to know what she loves
If I know what Queen Elizabeth loves, then it will be easier to decide what to give her or do for her. Is there a group of people she really loves? If I could do something for them, then that would benefit her, too. Here’s one. She is patroness of a charity called Friends of the Elderly. Looks like a cool place and if I were to dig in and help that charity, then I really have done something for the Queen of England. If she found out, of course she would be grateful. Because I love what she loves.
It goes without saying that if one of her children or grandchildren were in trouble, and I was able to solve the problem, then the Queen would take notice. I would have done something for her, as well as for her child, because I have aided what she loves.
For that matter, she’s got those dogs. Is there a charity that looks out for that kind of dog? If there is, then if I could do something for that kind of dog, I have also done something for Queen Elizabeth, something that really would make a difference to her, not just the dogs. Again, it’s because I love what she loves.
The principle here is that even if I am in no position to make a given person any better off, yet if I love and work for what that person loves, then I have really and honestly benefitted the individual, too. Loving what they love is a real gift to them.
It’s pretty obvious how this ties into God
As a Christian, I want to make God happy. I want to give him something, I want to do him a favor. But if it’s even hard to do something for Queen Elizabeth, good grief it might be even harder to do something for God.
Yet I know what God loves, because he told me. Here’s some of what he said.
Romans 5:8 God demonstrates his own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. God loves people that are estranged from him. So… if I will love the people around me enough to live the truth and share the truth with them – if I will find ways to bring the Gospel to them because I love them, then I have given God something he wants, something that actually pleases the Creator of everything. I love what God loves and that’s about all I can do for him.
Psalm 146:8 The Lord loves the righteous. God loves the Church. He loves the people whose lives are hidden in Christ and who obey him. So… if I will find ways to help the Church prosper in her mission and ways to become more pure in her service to God, then I have given God something he wants. Since I benefit what he loves, then I have come to his attention in a good way.
Isaiah 58:6,7 Is this not the fast which I choose, to loosen the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, and to let the oppressed go free and break every yoke? Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into the house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? God loves poor people. It’s impossible to read the Bible and not come to the conclusion God has a soft spot in his heart for poor people. So… if I do something for somebody poor, then I help somebody God cares about. The Isaiah 58 passage even goes on to say that God will extravagantly bless me if I help poor people and those who suffer unjustly. I love what God loves and he makes good things happen for me, too.
Matthew 5:44,45 Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, in order that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. God loves his enemies. Amazing. At the end of his life, Jesus talks about people who stone the prophets and kill God’s messengers, yet Jesus says he would gladly have “gathered them together like a hen does her chicks”. Jesus loved God’s enemies. So… if I, too, will love God’s enemies (which will obviously include my enemies and that’s where it gets hard), then I’m doing something for the people God loves. I’m doing something for God, giving him something he appreciates, because I love what he loves.
If you want to do something for God, then love what he loves.
It is a way to imitate God without “playing God”.
Use the things of this world to learn to love the things of heaven.