I once did a brief stint working construction. My boss was a bear of a man who slept with his tool belt and hard hat on. He had a perpetual chew in his mouth and spoke to me only when absolutely necessary, usually in grunts.
On my first day a truck delivered huge prefabricated walls for the second story of an apartment building. We had to set them on the deck and nail them to the floor, then together at the corners. I noticed that I was pounding each spike approximately 35 times to sink it, whereas the other guys did it in two strokes. My boss, standing down on the ground, noticed too.
“Toss me that hammer,” he ordered, bristling with all the warmth of Jabba the Hutt. I tossed it down to him. He examined it with utter disdain. “Where’d you get this Mickey Mouse hammer?” he sneered. All the crew’s eyes were on me. Trying to inject a little humor into the situation I replied, “Disney World.” Somehow my boss failed to see the humor in my comment, despite it being the funniest comeback in the world. The rest of the crew stood there mutely, like pall bearers at a graveside service. My boss gave me a withering glare and spat, “This is a finishing hammer. Take this little girl’s hammer home and get yourself a 20-ounce framing hammer.” Suddenly the crew erupted, guffawing and yammering as if my boss had told the funniest joke in the 20th century. Yeah, even the aborigines in the remotest parts of Australia know the difference between a finishing hammer and a framing hammer. Week-old babies know the difference. Garden slugs know the difference. That’s so hilarious.
Throughout the rest of my short construction career, my boss always looked at me with as much delight as he would while examining a plantar wart on his foot.
Is this how God looks at his children? Is this how Christ looks on his bride? Or does he look up from his desk full of papers, peering over the top of his glasses, stifling his annoyance and disappointment, growling in a gruff tone, “What do you want now?”
Paul gives us some insight when he exhorts husbands, “He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body.” (Eph 5.28-30).
Did you catch the word “cherishes”? Christ cherishes his bride. To cherish means to take joy in, delight in, treat as dear, care for tenderly. If you have a cherished family heirloom, you take pleasure in it, treasure it, prize it.
I’ve known people who have inherited their grandmother’s china. They put it in a special cabinet. They don’t use it for everyday meals. They don’t put hot dogs on it and stick it in the microwave. It’s different from all their other china. They handle it carefully. They cherish it. A friend of mine was given a document signed by Charles Spurgeon, the famous 19th century preacher. He had it framed and displays it in a prominent place in his home. He doesn’t leave it out on the table, to set his coffee cup on. He prizes it, cherishes it.
Jesus cherishes his bride. If you’re a believer, you’re part of his bride. This means Jesus cherishes you, because of his free love that moved him to shed his blood to purchase you. He takes pleasure in you and delights in you. Joy rises in his heart when you come to him. His eyes light up with love. We should always think of Jesus as being full of love to us. Meditate this week on Jesus’ steadfast, tender, affection for you, and respond to his love with gratefulness and praise.
O Jesus, thank you for your cherishing love for me. I love you, worship and adore you.