Eli’s birthday was last week. He saw the cake and his eyes lit up. Before the cake was even placed before him, his finger dove in and scooped out as much frosting as he could hold. The smile on his face described his joy, and he dove in for more. He tried the spoon. Good, but even the spoon could not hold enough frosting for his tastes. He tried to pick up the whole piece of cake, but it was stuck to the plate. He tried to put his whole face in the frosting, still not enough. Finally he grabbed the plate and got the whole piece of cake in his face.
Eli’s face was a green and white mess, yet no one thought he looked messy. He was thoroughly enjoying the cake. He tasted the cake. He felt the cake. He wore the cake. He experienced the cake. He was in love.
I thought of what Eli was doing and noticed how the rest of us were eating the cake. Compared to Eli, we were quite reserved. We ate it as grownups—with dignity and no mess. We used forks. When we got a little frosting on the corner of our mouth, we politely wiped it off, hoping no one would see it. We enjoyed the cake, but I can’t say we were in love with it the way Eli was.
I thought later about Jesus and our love relationship with Him. I wondered how eating the cake tied in. I remembered Eli’s full involvement in the cake. I think he cherished every bite. For him, it was an experience. Me, I can’t even remember what it tasted like.
Why is it that when we grow more mature in our faith, we can fall into the temptation of having a nice relationship with Jesus. An eat-with-your-fork-all-clean-and-dignified relationship with Jesus. Is that what He wants from us? Or does He want something more along the lines of the love relationship between Eli and the cake?
Why do we have a hard time being exuberant in our relationship with Jesus? Why do we fear what others might think of us? Why do we settle for the casual, the convenient?
I look on the wall of my study and see a painting of the woman who poured perfume on Jesus’ feet. Then she wiped off the excess with her hair. I can hear the gasps even now: That is not right. That is not appropriate.
She poured out her love for Jesus. She loved recklessly without inhibition. She was messy like Eli was messy. Yet both of them looked beautiful.
How can I be in love with Jesus? How can I enjoy my relationship with Him? Is it with fork and napkin or hands full in? I think I know the answer. Lord, I’m diving in!