Dr. T.T. Shields was the pastor of Jarvis Street Baptist Church in Toronto, Canada. He tells this wonderful story illustrating the love of God.
In the home of a friend one day, as he reclined on the lounge opposite, and I in an easy chair, we were having a pleasant chat until dinner was called, when his little boy, named Neil, about three or four years old, came in. He went to his father’s side and I heard him whisper, “Papa, get up and show Mr. Shields how much you love me.” I knew at once there was a secret between them, as it is fitting there should be between father and child, and that was a secret in which the child rejoiced. His father smiled, and said, “Oh, run away, Neil, and play; we are busy talking, and Mr. Shields knows I love you.” “Yes,” said the little fellow, “but I want you to show him how much.” Again and again the father tried to put him off, but the child persisted in his plea that the visitor be shown “how much” the father loved.
At length the father yielded, and as he stood, the child stood between us, and holding up his index finger, with a glance first at his father and then at me, he said, “Now you watch, till you see how much my papa loves me.”
His father was a tall and splendidly proportioned man. First, he partially extended one arm, but the child exclaimed, “No, more than that.” The other arm was extended, but the little fellow was not content, and demanded, “More than that.” Then one after the other both arms were outstretched to the full, only the fingers remaining closed. But still the child insisted, “More than that.”
Then, in response to his repeated demands, as he playfully stamped his little foot and clapped his hands and cried, “No! No! It’s more that that!”, one finger after another on either hand was extended, until his father’s arms were opened t their utmost reach, and to each was added the full hand breadth. Then the child turned to me, and gleefully clapping his hands, exclaimed, “See? That’s how much papa loves me.” Then he ran off to his play content.
I charge thee, sinner, let not thine unbelief drive thee beyond the far reach of mercy’s fingertips! There is no country this side of hell which is not shadowed by that Cross. Behold, and believe how much God loves thee!
And then, with outstretched arms, love others.