Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Love Means Priority

Two days ago, I was invited to the piano contest of my cousin and I was extremely touched to see that eight of her friends from church (if I remember correctly) attended as well. They were comprised of businessmen, corporate women, probably some housewives as well and a pastor. Take note, it was on a Monday afternoon, when businesses were in motion and the pastor was supposed to take his rest. I was really happy for my cousin who was able to receive such a support from her church family.

If you were in her shoes, would someone, just even one, care to come and give you some encouragement?

I asked my friend a related question, "For example, there is an emergency and someone has to go to your house, who do you think would be willing?"

"My family?"

"Except family members"

"You? But you don't drive."

"Except me also."

"Hmm.. (thinking, thinking) I don't know. You're making me sad."

Something's not right in this picture. Although, it has been emphasized that as a church we should love each other and unite as one body. Most often than not, we work on our respective parts in the body and that's it. Seldom do we walk an extra mile to care for a brother, risk a painful rejection for correcting a member, sacrifice a weekend to build deeper relationship with a sister, or encourage a spiritual mother or father whose strength you admire. These are very simple things compared to how Jesus defines love, "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.."

Something just felt dry. Maybe most of us have become preoccupied with our own circumstances, our own goals and trials, such that we don't have room for others anymore. Our number one rule in life has become "Time is gold." We attend fellowships for our own learning and keepsakes. When we go there, we don't have time to reach out to a hurting friend. She may just take more time and resources than what we can offer. We can choose to not bother since we can just pray for her anyway. Or perhaps, we are too focused with the ministry, the tangible result (i.e. an event, a program)that we fail to do what's more difficult.. what's more uncomfortable.. and what would make us depend on God more.

If you have read in my previous blog, God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power.. there's a continuation to that. He has also given us a spirit of love. And this gift is not merely a spirit to love ourselves. Absolutely not. It's primary purpose is for us to love God and secondarily, to love our neighbors. 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind' ; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' (Luke 10:27). Did you see your own name there? No.

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
~ John 13:34-35

It says "love one another." This means to love His disciples or in plain terms love your brothers and sisters in Christ. Everyone of them, no exceptions. This includes the pastor who you can't get along with, the strict church leader who rarely smiles at you and the boy who keeps on minding your tasks.

Do you have a great love for them? Are you willing to let go of your work in case a brother needs your help? Is your love for him greater than the deep love & loyalty between fraternity brothers? Are you willing to forgive him? Are you willing to die for him?

Sometimes it all boils down to one question. What/who do you love more, your job, your possessions, your reputation, your time, yourself or God's family?

I am not telling you to quit your job, abandon your family and become a people-pleasing servant 24/7. Rather, I'd like us to consider whether or not we have extended genuine care for our brothers and sisters, spiritually, intellectually, emotionally, physically, even when we have nothing to gain and it is to our own inconvenience.

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