I finally saw The Blind Side! I had heard so much about this movie from many others but hadn't gotten around to seeing it until a few nights ago. For those of you who haven't seen it (I can't imagine there are many left), the movie is about a boy, Michael, who grows up with absent parents in a rough neighborhood in Memphis, TN. Eventually he is accepted to a private Christian school partially because he is massive and athletic, thus making him a likely star on the football team. While attending school there he is taken in and adopted by a wealthy Christian family, the Tuohys. The mother of the family, Leigh Anne, played by Sandra Bullock, takes the lead role at least in the movie in caring for Michael. She gives him a place to sleep, food to eat, and clothes to wear. Largely because of this family's influence, Michael is able to graduate high school and earn a D-1 football athletic scholarship. He now plays in the NFL for the Baltimore Ravens.
The Touhys and particularly Leigh Anne in this movie are followers of Christ and do an amazing job of demonstrating the love of Christ to Michael. The giving of shelter, food, and clothing certainly reminds me of Matt. 25, particularly verses 34-35: "For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me." This is to be characteristic of Christian love. But one thing kept nagging me as I was watching the movie.
The Touhys are rich. It was no problem for Leigh Anne to buy all this extra stuff for Michael because the family had so much disposable income. Surely if these acts weren't there the picture of God's love would not have been as magnificent, so it made me wonder if their riches cheapen the expression of love we see in the movie.
I don't think they do. Any love we show is ultimately virtuous insofar as it is an expression of God's love. The reality is that God is really really rich. He's not rich in the sense that He has alot of money, but He is rich in His glory. God is able to love us because He is so rich. It is because God is so rich in mercy that He can save people who are by nature children of wrath:
"among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—" - Eph. 2:3-5 (emphasis mine)
Because God is rich in mercy, He has spent lavishly on us to save us. In fact when Christ comes to save us He humbles Himself to take on the form of a servant and die (Phil. 2:7-8). In this way, although Christ was rich with glory in heaven, He made himself poor for us:
"For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you by His poverty might become rich." - 2 Cor. 8:9
The Touhys thus demonstrate God's love to Michael by using their riches to spend lavishly on him. It is an awesome picture of God's love that really touched me through watching the movie. But the Touhys don't spend to the point of becoming poor. They don't die in Michael's place. Their love is a mere sign; it points us to a far greater love. God not only spends His riches on us: He becomes poor for us! He spends the largest price possible to win us: the death of His only Son! And what is the end goal? That we by His poverty might become rich, rich in the joy that comes from knowing God (Ps. 16:11, Phil. 3:7-9).