No matter what I say, what I believe, and
what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.
I Corinthians 13:3b (Msg)
Love means living the way God commanded us
to live. As you have heard from the beginning,
his command is this: Live a life of love.
2 John 1:6 (NCV)
During the 2019 holiday season (pre-pandemic), my wife and I sat around dinner tables with family members who have different thoughts and feelings about many of the current topics and issues. Despite our differences in opinions, vocations, and lifestyles, we are still a family that keeps a healthy balance between disagreement on some topics and agreement on others. This is based on our love and respect for each other than transcends our differences.
Just as in my family, I personally would not want to be part of a church where everyone agrees on every topic. Embracing the family members who have these differences and dealing with them is a part of everyday life as well as being a member of a church family.
For me, unconditional love for others, be they members of my family or members of my church, has been an ongoing and, at times, a difficult learning process. Jesus said, “Your strong love for each other will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” (John 13:35, LB)
That sounds good when reading it in the Bible but in everyday life it is not that simple. It is easier to talk about the concept of love being a top priority in our lives than it is to live it. From time to time, we are surrounded by people who are irritating, imperfect, and frustrating, individuals who would not win the Miss (or Mr.) Congeniality award at a beauty contest, individuals who test your patience and sense of humor. When Paul talks about life without love being bankruptcy, I think he is saying that life without love equals nothing.
Don’t we all want our lives to be a positive legacy? I would rather be remembered for the way I treated other people than for my achievements or my bank account. Short-changing our relationships with others will do nothing to help create our own legacy. We cannot be “all talk and no action” about loving others. Building a loving relationship with others is time well spent. The Bible says, “Whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone.” (Galatians 6:10 NLT)
In his book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” Stephen R. Covey writes that “When we truly love others without condition, without strings, we help them feel secure and safe and validated and affirmed in their essential worth, identity and integrity.” That certainly sounds like a great legacy, a legacy of love.
Finally, the church bulletin blooper:
The pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the congregation would lend him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday morning.
If you would like to view past editions of Lessons from Out Lay Leader, follow this link: https://harbordistrictnc.org/category/from-the-lay-leader/