This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. – 1 John 3:16
There was a greeting card recently that read, “All we need is love.” It was written in large, florid, upper case letters, almost reminiscent of the Beatles song of a similar name, filling every square inch of the beautiful cover of the missive. The brightly colored illustration enhanced the boldness of the message: a fuzzy, feel-good message, full of the conviction that both the sender and the receiver may sit back and let life go by, because of course, love is all they need.
How often is our faith life like that card? “We are baptized. It’s all good.” “Sure I’m saved. Heaven’s in the bag.” “Hey there, hungry, cold, lonely stranger. Jesus loves you, so it’s all right.” It sounds a little harsh that way; but how often do we take God’s steadfast love for granted, and just cruise along through our spiritual lives, as if faith ends with recognizing God’s love?
Luckily, that greeting card had an inside message. A complete contrast to the wild colors and large letters that claimed on the cover, “All we need is love,” it read in small, simple, almost timid writing: “…And patience. And hope. And tolerance. And guts. And resilience… But mostly, love.”
The truth of our relationship with God is that it begins with God’s love. It doesn’t end there. After accepting the love of our Creator, we must take up His work and His message, and bring it to others, so they may begin their faith journeys. To do that, we must pray for patience, and hope, and tolerance, and guts, and resilience; but mostly, to recall God’s steadfast love through it all.
Has your personal faith stagnated lately? Are you resting on the laurels of salvation, instead of taking up your cross and following Him? If so, now is the time to enter a season in His service. Perhaps there is a ministry you have admired, but never attempted? (I recommend joining the choir, bells, or helping with Children’s Music!) Perhaps you have ministered a long time in one area, but need a change? Perhaps you feel you are too ill, too busy, or too aged; perhaps you feel you are not smart enough, talented enough, or persistent enough? Pray about it. God knows exactly where you are needed most. There are many ministries to try, from helping at the food bank to praying for every person on the prayer chain; and asking God to show you the way will reveal many more ways to serve Him than you can imagine.
We wish you great patience in your quest to find how best to serve…and hope, and tolerance, and guts, and resilience. But mostly, love.
Mark and Treva
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