Jesus’ extravagance

“‘A host always serves the best wine first,’ he said. ‘Then when everyone has had a lot to drink, he brings out the less expensive wine. But you have kept the best until now!’” (John 2:10, NLT).

Most people are familiar with Jesus’ first miracle, that of changing water into wine. It really was wine, by the way, and there was a lot of it. When he found out from his mother the wine at the wedding had run out, Jesus told the servants to fill up the water jars. These six stone water jars held 30 gallons each, which translates into 180 gallons or 908 bottles of wine. It was good wine too, as this verse shows.

I don’t know about you, but if someone told me more wine was needed at a party, I might grab one or two bottles, and I’d probably hesitate about bringing out the best. But not Jesus. Some might say he went a little overboard, but this just shows the amazing generosity and loving extravagance of our Savior who puts no limits on how much he is willing to do for those he loves.

God knows everything about us

“O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me” (Psalm 139:1, NLT).

A friend is someone who knows all about us and loves us anyway. We like this about our friends because it means we can trust them with our problems, our silliness, our bad moods and our dreams! True friends don’t judge, criticize or condemn, rather they try to see beyond what’s on the surface to what is going on inside us.

God is our truest friend, the one who sees all the way into our hearts. He sees the good and the bad, the past experiences that made us the way we are, our desperate, unfulfilled needs and the resulting motivations that impel or compel us to act the way we do. And he loves us anyway. He doesn’t stop loving us even when we turn away, question him or get mad because we don’t like the way he works, as in the case of unanswered prayers. We can laugh with him, cry with him and even yell at him—nothing will change the way he feels toward us. The amazing thing is, he wants us to be his friends too!

A Lesson From Laundry

Laundry is one of those things everyone has to do, unless you can get someone else to do it for you! As you know, the clothes must be sorted—dark colors separate from the whites and lighter colors. (Some of us learn this the hard way, like I did in college: I put my new red gym clothes in with my whites and everything came out pink.) Some items have to be washed in the gentle cycle with a different detergent. And we all know what happens when you forget and put a delicate item in the dryer!

We take special care of our clothes, but we sometimes forget people need the same consideration. We don’t have too much trouble with the obvious, such as illnesses, handicaps or difficult circumstances, but we can’t see inside and know what people are thinking and that’s when trouble comes.

It’s so easy to look at someone and make judgments. The story of Samuel going out to choose a new king from the whole pack of Jesse’s sons is a classic. Who would have thought God had David in mind? Even Samuel had to learn this lesson: “The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7, NLT throughout).

With people we’ve just met, and even with ones we’ve known a long time, we have to be careful not to make assumptions. We don’t know what they’ve experienced and have no idea how those experiences have affected them.

In Colossians 3:12-14, we are reminded of how we should treat one another: “Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.”

The New Testament has many “one another” statements, including Ephesians 4:31-32: “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”

How we treat others is important for many reasons. As believers, we are part of the body of Christ. No one hates his or her own body, but cherishes it (Ephesians 5:29). We are made in the image of God, so when we mistreat or dishonor others, we are dishonoring God. The Golden Rule isn’t a cliché. We need to treat others in the same way we would like to be treated, remembering we all have our own struggles, some apparent to others, many hidden deep inside, known only to us and God.

Next time you’re sorting laundry, take a moment to think of the people in your life and the special consideration each one needs. God already does this for us, treating us as individuals deserving of his own special care.