We live in a bottom line society.
If something isn’t efficient enough, if it doesn’t get the job done, or, most importantly, if it doesn’t make money, we get rid of it or ignore altogether in the first place.
Whether in business, church, or just day to day life, many of the decisions we make are based on what’s best for the bottom line, what makes the most sense in light of our resources, or what will be the most beneficial to us in the end.
Which means the people and things we cherish the most are those that are the most efficient, the most productive, and the most profitable.
In turn, this means there is no greater secular sin than being good for nothing.
If something is good for nothing, we toss it aside, trash it, vilify it, and go out of our way to make sure no one else bothers wasting their time, money, or energy on something or someone that is good for nothing.
Which is what makes God so particularly confusing and frustrating, if not altogether off putting.
God doesn’t always make sense. God doesn’t always do what is most efficient. God certainly doesn’t do what would be most beneficial to God.
Perhaps “worst” of all, God is good for no reason. That is say, God is good regardless of profitability.
God loves in the face of rejection. God gives grace even though it’s exploited. God forgives even as God is being trampled on. God gives when it isn’t deserved.
God is good for nothing.
For no reason.
For no profit.
God is good simply because God chooses to be good, not because of what God may get out of it. After all, God is not in need of anything.
This is, once again, what makes God so particularly confusing and frustrating, if not altogether off putting for those of us who live in a society consumed by the bottom line, where everything must have a purpose, a reason, a potential for profit.
But God’s love has no motive.
God simply loves.
Sure, God wants us to return that love, but God doesn’t force it and God certainly doesn’t stop loving when that love doesn’t see a return on its investment.
This is why Jesus tells the rich young ruler to sell everything and give the money to the poor. It’s not because there is anything intrinsically wrong with money or wealth. It’s because the man had a motive in wanting to follow Jesus. He wasn’t in love in Jesus. He wanted what Jesus could do for him.
But that’s not the sort of life Jesus calls his follower to. Jesus calls his people to simply love like God loves.
To be good for nothing.
This is why we hear so many people talk about the Christian life, but few actually live it. Being good for nothing is a scary thing. It requires us to abandon our need for profit, efficiency, and the sense of security that come with them.
It means taking care of the poor even though they didn’t do anything to earn it. It means forgiving even when forgiveness isn’t asked for. It means extending grace to those who actively seek our demise.
It means pouring out one’s life without exception of gain, but simply out of love for God and neighbor.
This is the sort of life we see embodied by Jesus in the Gospels.
And this is the sort of God we encounter in Scripture.
But this sort of God doesn’t fit very well into our modern bottom line society. In fact, this sort of God stands in stark opposition to it.
Because this sort of God is good for nothing.
But that is the very thing that makes God worthy of our worship.
Grace and peace,