Jun29WedJune 29, 2016
Our daily Scripture readings have just taken us to John 13 which describes one of the most difficult commandments given by Jesus. “Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another” (John 13:34). The Apostle John was so impacted by this command that towards the end of his life, yet before exiled to the island of Patmos, people recognized him as the older man who repeatedly declared, “Beloved, love one another.”
Why did John need to repeat this command? I suppose it’s because it’s just so difficult to love one another! It’s just like the man who was leaving a spiritual retreat once said, “It’s so easy to love my wife…until I spend time with her again.”
Love, as we defined on May 8th through our study of 1 Corinthians 13, is “willingly serving like Jesus for the eternal good of another and the glory of God” (see 1 John 3:16).
Love requires both a willing attitude and the action of serving. Most days, I feed our teething, twin boys their supper. I am serving them outwardly by given them small bites of food. However, my attitude is not always bathed with a willing spirit. My own love for them often falls short because of my selfish, impatient heart.
Love also requires that we listen to the needs of another. This is especially critical among close friends or between husband and wife. Often, I have willingly washed the dishes out of a heart to love my wife. Sounds great, doesn’t it? It is good, unless at that moment the loving action for me is to postpone washing dishes in order to give her my full attention.
How often are you willing to listen to the needs of another…before seeking to serve them?
Our current series on ‘The Communion of Saints’ continues to take us into a variety of difficult topics. We just finished a mini-series on Sex, Marriage & Singleness. My hope is that these topics have spurred us into deeper love for the Lord AND for one another. But this requires us to listen to the needs. Out of our regular church attenders, we have 17 individuals who have lost their spouse due to death and 23 other adults who are single for a variety of reasons. How might you love one of them? We also have 13 families with children under the age of 2 and 9 adults who have started attending FMC since the first of this year. What needs might they have? Obviously, this is just the beginning of listing various needs. You know many more.
As the summer months continue, I encourage you to pray for servant heart and listen for new ways to love your growing church family and your individual family. (Examples may include: sharing a meal together, tending to yard work together, studying Scripture together, playing a game together, etc.).
Loving one another is not only a command but it’s a critical part of our witness within the world. “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). Let’s keep growing in love in order to strengthen the "communion of saints" at FMC for the glory of God!