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Some kids favor a pacifier.

Some enjoy a blanket.

Others prefer a stuffed animal.

When my middle son, Gage, was a baby he had a “Lovey.” You may have hard time telling from the picture above, but Lovey was a combination of all three. It was a blanket with an elephant head attached to it that Gage used as a pacifier.

Over time “Lovey” became a mutilated, filthy, elephant that he carried everywhere he went. You would be surprised how much our family life revolved around “Lovey” for several years. We have made trips back to restaurants because we left “Lovey.” We have had late night search parties looking for “Lovey.”  We once made a trip back to a hotel where we had left “Lovey.” “Lovey” got to go on family vacations, sit at the dinner table, and had full voting rights as a member of the Wilson family.

But looking back Gage’s love for “Lovey” taught me an important lesson.

There are two kinds of love in this world. A love you express because something brings you value, and a love that can actually create value in something. A love that creates value is a powerful thing. My son, Gage, loved that raggedy old elephant in such a way that it created value. We still have “Lovey.” We wouldn’t be able to sell that thing at a yard sale for 5 cents but you couldn’t buy it from me for $500.

I’m reminded today that God loves me not necessarily for what value I add to His universe. I’m quite confident there are days that I add nothing.  In fact, I often do more damage than good to what God is trying to accomplish. There are days that emotionally and spiritually I look a lot like “Lovey.” But God loves me in such a way that He gives me value. And for that I am very grateful.

Ephesians 5:1-2

Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.