I couldn’t believe her. I thought she was way smarter than this.
One of my best friends had just told me that she believed in love at first sight. I’m sorry, what? Like in the Disney movies, where they marry men they’ve just met? Like on The Bachelor, where they’re “falling in love” with someone they’ve known for six weeks?
I could only type “smh”. Love isn’t something you trip and fall into. Love isn’t a collection of butterflies or heady emotions. Love is…well, love is…
I bet love is the farthest thing from your mind as you read Numbers 28. Burnt offerings, drink offerings, grain offerings. Rules, dates, and laws. Um, skip?
But what if love and its secrets are buried here in this chapter? What if the regulations and sacrifices listed here are, well, true love?
More than a feeling
It sounds strange, because when we think of love, we think of pleasure. Good feelings. Deep attraction. Exchanged looks and endless smiles.
But burnt offerings weren’t fun at all. Imagine the smell. Imagine the sight. Imagine the despair of yet another sin to ask forgiveness for.
Even the okay stuff, like grain offerings and the Passover and the Festival of Weeks, had to have gotten old at some point. Every day, an offering (verse 4). And then on the Sabbath, a second offering (verse 9). And then on the first day of every month, another offering (verse 11). And then during the first month of every year, yet another offering (verses 20-23).
It was never ending! And for what?
The Israelites had been wandering through the wilderness on their way to the Promised Land. I could imagine throwing a festival after making it to their new home. It would make sense to give thank offerings once they were finally drinking milk and eating honey.
But before anything good had even happened? Why do anything at all? Why obey? Why remain an Israelite? Why not slink off to one of those nations having more fun?
What if it was because of Love?
What if love doesn’t just mean that someone makes your heart beat faster, but that you do what they ask, even when you don’t feel like it?
What if love doesn’t just mean that you smile at the thought of them, but that you do something nice for them, regularly?
What if love doesn’t just mean that you spend time with them, but that you selflessly serve the people they love?
What if love doesn’t just mean good, intoxicating emotions, but effort and obedience?
Is this what Love is? And if so, how do I get it?
“Love me with all your heart and soul and mind and strength”
The problem with “love at first sight” and “falling in love” and all those other cliches is that they make love an accident. It just happens to you one day. You get lucky. You fall.
So when we sin, or when our relationship with God isn’t where it should be, or when we don’t care for others and their salvation quite as much as we should, we don’t do much about it. We can’t force it, can we? Someday we’ll get it together.
But the Bible shows us that love is a choice.
We don’t fall in love with Jesus, we decide to love Jesus.
We see who He is and what He’s done and what He’s promised us, and we put in the effort to craft a relationship with Him.
We love Him when we sacrifice our sins and our bad habits in exchange for obedience.
We love Him when we dedicate our time to Him – daily, weekly, monthly, yearly.
We love Him when we talk about Him, when we think about Him, when we study Him.
These are all choices. These are all actions we must work to take. This is all He asks – that we choose to love with every piece of us.
No relationship is a one-way street. Our choice bears fruit because He makes it possible for us to do what we choose. But the decision has to happen first.
How do you fall in love?
You step into love. And that way, you never fall out.
What do you think? What is true love? Comment below.