But What If?
Off the Wall, March 5,

A taxi driver and I began conversing one Saturday on the way to church when I brought up one of the topics I enjoy talking about a lot – unconditional love. I always start by posing the question, “Do you think you could love someone without any strings attached?”

“Don’t answer me,” I stated, “without giving this next question some thought.”

“Did you ever get into a relationship with somebody expecting something in return?” Before answering those two questions, I’d finalize my interrogation by asking him to mill over what was said and then we would have a discussion about it.

And thus, I initiated a very deep discussion, something he didn’t see coming.

What I’m giving reference here goes beyond the simple understanding of doing one thing to get something back. We can go into a grocery store and buy food and know that we are going to have to pay for it. When we enter a stall to take a shower and turn on the Fawcett, we know without a shadow of a doubt that water will come out. And when it rains and we go outside without some protection, we know we are going to get wet. Those are all things to be expected, in one sense a no-brainer.”

“As I see it,” I said,” we as human beings in our society always doing something hoping to get something for ourselves in return.

Nearing his response, I finally asked, “Could you enter into a relationship with a woman unselfishly and never seek anything in return for yourself?”

As I began to tell him about love without conditions attached, he piped up right away and stated, “But what if….,” an all too familiar response.

My whole mission here was to plant a seed and that I did. I’m sure after he dropped me off there was plenty of food for thought that followed.

I asked a dear friend one day, “If your wife cheated on you, would you still love her,” to which he responded, “Of course not.” That brought for raised eyebrows as I told him he should enter into marriage with unconditional love for his partner. “I could never do that,” he said. God only knows where his mind was when he got married.

I always wanted to write a book on “expectation.” As creations of God, we certainly have figured out more ways to conjure up situations whereby we look to others to fulfill our needs.

But today, I want you to think of how it would be if someone loved you without conditions. God does, you know. Repeatedly, you do sin against Him, but He’ll never stops loving you and He is always there to listen to your wants including repentance for your wrongdoings.
There are no “But what ifs…” with God. He’s loved you from before He created you and is loving you right now and forever more. He not only wants you to call upon Him, but establish a relationship with Him as well.

It’s more than we can fathom how much the Trinity, angels and saints all love us unconditionally, yet we who are supposed to be imitators of our Lord and Savior seek conditions in our relationship with others.

Priests, ministers or leaders of their flocks should all treat the peoples of their congregations with that same love of Christ if they are chosen to bring the Word to Christ’s followers. They must exemplify that spiritual love that “knoweth no understanding.” Parishioners and church members must feel that love and be led to worship Christ through them. Such special anointing comes only from the Holy Spirit sent forth from God Almighty. How wonderful, then, is it to have such great spiritual leaders.

All human beings are subject to sin. We all have our strong points and weaknesses. To know that God is flawless and man is flawed ought to serve as an eye opener right there. In my opinion, we all have our expectations as to others should act, clergy or fellow parishioners included. If they fall short, then we become short-sighted. Forgetting that these people are human beings may cause some to walk away from God creating sin within them.

We all must strive to go about our lives with the goal of giving totally and not expecting anything back. My favorite line is this. “When you give, expect nothing in return. If you do get something, it will surely be a gift.”

Hope I planted another seed…

- Paul J. Volkmann
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