The Problem With Ya

love-yaIt happened on a beach one day. A Man was feeding some others with grilled fish that had been ‘imported’. He had no fishing pole, no boat, no  net. The fish…just…appeared. The men who gathered at the Man’s fire were experienced fishermen and had just hit the mother lode that morning and were dragging in their nets bulging with the greatest catch of their lives. But the story wasn’t about their fish so much as it was the Man who was offering them fish from out of the blue. And not sea-blue, either.

Really, the story is about the Man.

And what He is after.

By now all Bible-o-philes know I’m talking about the Man Jesus. He has finished His work as the atoning sacrifice, the Lamb offered for the sin of the world and days have passed since Resurrection Morning. And now, in glorified Body He sits on the beach, grilling fish, serving His Eleven (even Jesus had people leave His church) and eating with them. You’d think that would be the bulk of the breakfast conversation along with fish out of nowhere but it wasn’t.

There on the lakeshore in the misty morning, Jesus trolls for an Undivided Heart through which He can show Himself strong. He calls out Peter and asks, “Simon (his natural birth name), do you love Me?” Of course the rest of the question includes “more than these” and there are as many interpretations of “these” out there as there are denominations, but I just want to sit on these first five words.

I saw three things about that question this morning. First, Jesus reveals something beautiful about Himself through the question. He reveals that He is very interested in BEING LOVED. Secondly, not only does He want to be loved, He wants that love CONFESSED.

Think of your girl (or your man, as the case may be): when your heart went thump-thump-thump, your hands turned sweaty and your stomach turned cartwheels for her, how private was it? Could you keep it to yourself? Maybe you didn’t announce it to the whole school or even your parents, but you told someone. And dollars to donuts, I’ll bet you declared your undying love to that confidante for her. And when it became official? When she got your ring or letter jacket or jersey? Oh, by then the whole dang school knew! Right?

In other words, you don’t have to be told to spread the news. It’s a strange thing about Jesus, though. We seem to stifle our passion, zip our lips, avert eyes and avoid any conversation that might steer “there”—away from church, that is.  I know of some men who take their wedding bands off when they are business travelling. I’ve seen a wife or husband swat their partner’s hand away or fend off an advancing kiss because people were (gasp!) watching.

And then I’ve seen couples doing mouth-to-mouth on each other in a mall, completely oblivious to the passing world around them. Now that’s confessing!

But there’s a third thing I saw from Jesus’ query. Jesus also wants this love to be UNCOMMON. And here I’ll talk about the “problem with ya.”

I have yearbooks where, say, my girlfriend writes a paragraph over her class photo or flyleaf about how much fun I’ve been, how great it is to know me, I’m so sweet, all that hoo-hah. Then she signs off with a “Love Ya!” I started looking over all the other autographs and end-of-an-era fare-thee-wells and was shocked to find that all the other girls who were my friends had also signed off. The. Exact. Same. Way.

When it hit me, I realized my girlfriend may have just as well said, “Sincerely yours” or even “Warmly”—or worse: “Have a great life without me!”  I know, I know “love ya!” is fun. It’s sassy. But my juvenile stirrings wanted more than just being her special pal. The ‘ya’ made our relationship seem common, less special. I knew it then: I was in her ‘friend zone’, her insufferable stable of chums.

The Man Christ Jesus is calling His Bride out of the earth, illustrated by His calling out Simon Peter on that Spring morning.

He wants her love.

He wants her to confess their love openly.

And He wants it to be uncommon.

(Read: Agape)

“More than these?” (What? More than the other guys? More than the caught fish? More than the ‘uncaught’ fish? More than the nets? Who knows? It doesn’t matter. What matters is: “_________________ (put own name here), do you love Me?”)

It is hard to confess that too often my love letters to Jesus are friendly. Warm. Sometimes (dare I say it?) polite. Oh Lord, for a fiery heart, a flame-engulfed passion, a raging, out-of-(self) control molten River of Undying Love for the Son. May liquid-hot magma overflow the banks of my heart and consume everything in its path that the Glory of the Son might be revealed in me. God, deliver me from a “Love Ya” heart! 

And Sandy, my bride on this earth, who daily demonstrates in my personal world what God is doing on a global scale, this marital mini-series of where God is taking all of us, I cannot believe this will be the 28th straight Valentine’s Day we will celebrate together. I’m so happy the LORD has given you to me to love in this lifetime. I’m so glad the ya’s don’t enter into our life’s conversation. (Too often)

I love you.


14 thoughts on “The Problem With Ya

  1. Mysword44 says:

    “Ask ye of the Lord rain in the time of the latter rain; [so] the Lord shall make bright clouds, and give them showers of rain, to every one grass in the field.” – Zechariah 10:1



  2. Marie says:

    I’ll never be able to say “love ya” again! Thanks. 😦

    Anyway, beautiful word. I’ve never thought of this phrase (“love ya”) as being just words, maybe a little less intense than the “I love You” words, but still meaning the same thing. Glad I’ve never said “love ya” to God!

    How ’bout just “love you”? Ya think that could have deep meaning? Man, you’ve really rocked my world!

    Happy Valentine’s Day to you and Sandy! I LOVE YOU both! 🙂


    • pasturescott says:

      Marie, are you enjoying your “love ya” chocolates? (Thanks KaKa)


      I can’t tell you enough how much I appreciate your reading, commenting and encouraging me through these years of blogging. And even your nudges to get back to it are always appreciated. You are my sister and I will always be grateful for this. I love you, Marie. Oh, do you ever wake up grumpy? I think he needs waking up right about now!



  3. Jerald says:

    You have a lesson here for us all, Scott.

    I was talking to a male friend of mine who is going through some grief from a family situation and when we finished our conversation I said, “I love you brother.” And I used his name.
    He got emotional right there on the phone.
    Then I got a call from another friend that I haven’t seen in a while to tell me about a death in his family and he ended our conversadion with me by saying, “I love you.”

    In both cases real love was confessed. I don’t think I could ever say, “Love ya.” to either of those guys – ever.

    Thanks for this lesson, Scott. We all can learn a lot from just looking at how you love those around you. And thanks for loving me that way too. I know that Sandy will approve.


    • pasturescott says:

      I love you, Jerald. (misting)

      BTW, your comments have been put in the spam blocker, so I haven’t seen them until just this afternoon. I think I took care of that!

      Back to the reply, I think you have to do a lot more “loving” of me, J. I know I can be a real stinker! But you show such grace! Thanks for being that kind of a friend to me and allowing me the same. I say again, I love you Jerald.


  4. darla says:

    Our culture has abused the word Love just as they have abused just about everything else. “love ya” does have a hollow sound to it…

    Well for the record! I LOVE JESUS! And I love you too, my brother, and I truly miss you when you are MIA. Thanks for bringing the word, and I recieve it! (by the way someone was looking for you, ended up in my search engine..i saw it there and wondered if they ever found your is better than some of things I find there. 🙂 )


    • pasturescott says:

      I like your word: “hollow”

      And for the record, I know you love Him–and, while this is no news to you, HE LOVES YOU TOO! (and so do I…none of that “love ya” stuff here!)

      Here’s what I found in my search engine today: ‘scott mitchell paraplegic pastor’

      I roared! That is some cute stuff. While that is not my true identity, at least they spelled paraplegic right!

      Love y—oops! Love you, Darla!


  5. annie says:

    Hi Scott –

    WOW. What a fantastic thing to pull out of those verses. Wow. I’ll be mulling that over. “He is very interested in BEING LOVED. Secondly, not only does He want to be loved, He wants that love CONFESSED.” That impacted me. Thank you.


  6. brotherjohnny says:

    Thanks, Scott.


  7. Marie says:

    Hey! I appreciate your thinking of me! Haven’t opened them yet, but don’t you worry, I’m a raving Russell Stover fan!

    Looks like I’m way outnumbered here with my thoughts – even my own beloved took the high road. Oh well, guess I’ll have to take “ya” out of my already very small vocabulary.

    See “you” at LIFEgroup tonight, I hope?


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