Sunday, 2 October 2011

Love that will not betray you

Over the last couple of months I have done a couple of things which have caused me to think about things again. The first thing I did was change jobs and the second was to read 'Counterfeit Gods'. What's interesting in any job is to see what motivates people. Every workplace and every manager is trying to work out what it is which will motivate their employees. What is it which will make people want to come and work for them, what will make them remain loyal and what will help them to work to their maximum? The answer which most people come up with here is obvious for all to see - 'Money'. Sure there are other things which can motivate people and there are other things which workplaces try like status (change the job title), time off (increase holiday allowance), work environment (team building, nice environment etc). However, when it comes down to it if you want better staff the answer is normally to offer more money, if you want to keep certain employees then the answer is normally to give them a pay rise and if you want to encourage people to work better you offer them performance based pay. Why is it that money is the ultimate motivator? Well surely it is because we are best motivated by the things we love most. Everything seems to point to the fact that the thing we love best is money.

This may well be true but just because we love something doesn't make it good. You see the love of money is dangerous. People often end up pursuing money at the expense of their families, their health, their relationships and a whole host of things. Often our love of money actually fails to make us happy but rather so dominates us that we ruin our lives pursuing it. Money also traps us. We have a certain amount of money or are promised a certain amount of money and so we buy a certain house and pursue a certain lifestyle and then we have to keep earning like that or else our whole life would fall apart. So we love money but maybe we shouldn't.

The song 'Sigh no more' has the following line 'Love that will not betray you, dismay or enslave you, it will set you free'. Here they recognise what I have been saying here and what Tim Keller says in Counterfeit Gods. Love tends to betray us. We believe that it will bring us all we are looking for but then we get it and find that it betrays us. Love tends to dismay and enslave us. Rather than bringing us the freedom and joy we thought it would we end up trapped by it as we continue to pursue things which cannot ever deliver.

So what do we do? Well love is not a bad thing. the problem is that everything we love in this world is corrupted and damaged by sin and therefore disappoints. The problem is that we are corrupted and damaged by sin and therefore we love things more than we should. The gospel is the message of a perfect God's love for us and of the way we can love God and find that it is in fact that love and that love alone that will not betray us, dismay or enslave us but will instead set us free.