Millennial Monday: His Love Isn’t Reckless, So Why Do I Love That Song?
EDITOR’S NOTE: While regular Millennial Monday blogger Emily Howsden is away on maternity leave, Millennial Monday will continue as guest bloggers fill in over the next couple of months.
Let me start by saying that God’s love is not reckless. ‘Reckless’ infers chaos and lack of control, both ideas contrary to His nature. Our Father (and His love) is good and kind; our Father fights for us and paid a great sacrifice. Our Father’s love is overwhelming and certainly never-ending; we are unable to earn His love, and we don’t deserve His love. However, our Father’s love is not reckless.
So why do I still love this song? His love for me makes no sense.
Its writer, Cory Asbury, looked toward the parable of the lost sheep as his inspiration for this song. What good shepherd leaves caring for 99 sheep to find one that has wandered away? To pursue one who disregards you seems nonsensical, but to our Father, who made us, is perfectly logical and necessary. In fact, Jesus suggests that any shepherd would leave the larger flock in order to find a lost sheep.
“What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountain and go in search of the one that went astray?” Matt. 18:12 ESV (Emphasis mine).
In my finitude, I can understand the action of the shepherd as reckless, but only because I know how much of a worthless sheep I am. To leave 99 sheep of great value to seek me, a sheep unclean and unrighteous makes no sense. To contrast, however, Jesus gives an example of a truly reckless response in that of a hired hand in John 10:12 who flees when a wolf puts the sheep in danger.
I must admit that the first time I heard this song, the word choice for describing God’s love failed to strike me as odd at all, and when I sing this song, I understand how I mean the word “reckless,” and I sing with a thankful heart that He would do something that appears so reckless in seeking me!
But as a worship leader, I cannot determine how you mean the word “reckless.” Entrusted to me (and those of you who lead worship also) is the very real responsibility of leading both sheep among the fold and those still being sought, to a place of encountering God, and my time leading, must be intentional and focused.
If you’re anything like me, you can hear a line of a song once and it is entrapped in your mind and you find yourself humming it, or even singing it under your breath. Lately, while reading R. Kent Hughes’ Disciplines of A Godly Man, I’ve been thinking about the role that meditation in Psalm 1:2 plays in my daily life. Hughes explains the word “meditate” to mean mumble or mutter, and I have challenged myself to (I know this sounds crazy) mumble or mutter scripture I am memorizing through my day. How great would it be to leave those around you humming (or singing under their breath) songs rich in scripture and theology, further helping them hide the Word in their hearts?
A challenge to worship leaders from a (very green) worship leader: lead your congregations with two things in mind, 1) lead with the new Christians in mind and 2) lead so that the lost are confronted with truth. I want the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart AND the songs I sing to be pleasing to my Rock and Redeemer, and I want new Christians to learn new ways to rightly focus and express their affection toward God.
Additionally, I want the songs I sing to present the Gospel with as little confusion as possible for those who are lost. To sing of God’s love as reckless for me may mean something totally different than for the lost person who truly understands the meaning of reckless in their life without Christ.
So yes, I sing “Reckless Love” with a thankful heart, and with (what I believe to be) the intention of its writer, but only in my car, and only by myself.