Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Driven by Love
"We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has the world's goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us not love with word and with tongue, but in deed and truth." I John 3:16-18
At first glance, the call to lay down our lives for others seems a bit absurd. Isn't that what Jesus did? Why do we have to do that as well?
I John is really the love book. I am looking forward someday to meeting John, because his gentle spirit and kind heart flows from every word he penned. I am sure he is a unique man. His book is not that long - it can easily be read in one sitting, but the overriding theme of love is unmistakable.
In the middle of chapter four he says this, "We love, because He first loved us."
With that one phrase, we get the answer to our questions above. When you truly understand the love that was shown to you through Jesus Christ, it is so all encompassing that can't help but be a loving person as well. The sanctification process (growing, maturing) produces love in the believer and this love is not based on warm fuzzies, but on the reality of the love we've already experienced.
At the moment, one of my responsibilities with our church plant is organizing the assimilation process - the path of taking a visitor into the church and leading them into a deeper relationship with Christ and the church. This process has many steps, with many volunteers and thankfully I have lots of help, but I am learning that assimilation is so much more than just moving people from one place to another. It's really about loving people enough to come alongside them and help them.
Why should the parking lot attendants and greeters be warm and friendly? Is it because they are trying to sucker people into feeling accepted and then maybe they'll come to the church?
Why should the nursery workers consider their responsibilities discipleship rather than baby-sitting?
Why bother with coffee and sweets? Are we trying to woo people through their tummies?
Why ask people to fill out friendship registers? Are we playing Big Brother?
The reason we do what we do in church needs to be love.
Harvest has a saying: You Are Loved. They use it a lot and it can be an empty saying if it is not backed up with actions. That's why you have greeters and treats and assimilation processes. The motivation is to be loving, to let people know that you care about them and want to encourage them in their walk with Christ. It is by this love that men will know that we have been loved by Jesus.
So, yes. We need to be willing to lay our lives down for others because of love. It's not something that should be hard to do, because as we grow in Christ, that love should be growing as well.
If you have time, give I John a read through today. It's worth it.