February 1, 2012

Ugh!!! Today is one of those “can’t concentrate” days. Ever have those? You know… you read the same paragraph over and over and over again and you still don’t know what it says. Or you walk into a room and can’t remember why you are there? Bad enough when it happens but when you are reading Diary of a Wimpy Kid… well let me just say that epitomizes a “can’t concentrate” day! It could be that it’s February 1st and its 65 degrees outside! There is something about this winter that has thrown my whole system out of kilter. I remember it being that way in Hawaii. My first Christmas stationed at Pearl Harbor I went to the beach with my buddies… that was really weird! Not my buddies, but the Christmas/beach thing. Well, okay, my friends were a little strange too. Sort of like now.

Even in the midst of my blurred concentration I was reminded of the love of God. And I was also reminded that The Church should be known for “love.” Think for just a moment about who in your life epitomizes love. Anyone come to mind? I hope so or you are in serious trouble! Now think about your church… how close are they to your understanding of love? I mean really? Sometimes we in the church are like a sports store that sells vegetables. Or a butcher that sells clothing. Or a politician… well maybe I won’t go there. The point being… we in the church should primarily be known for our capacity to love not for things unrelated to the faith! We claim to worship a God that IS love and yet we are so pitiful at it. At least as I think of love anyway… Sacrificial, forgiving, tender, kind, thoughtful… Don’t get me wrong… there are surely times in the church when we do marvelously at these things. But there are also too many times when we let our old sinful nature enslave us. At least that is true of me.

One of the things about the ministry that I find frustrating is the notion that ministers are called to be loving because it’s our job! The implication being, “if you were not a minister you would not care for me or love me.” It might be true that pastors would not do some of the things they do if they were not in ministry, but that has little to do with whether we love people or not. Truth be told, all believers are called to be loving regardless of our “profession.”

Do you know the difference between a “professional” and an “amateur”? Some might say the difference is that professionals get paid and amateurs do not. That is surely true. Let me give you a different perspective. The word amateur comes from the Latin word “amare” which means “to love.” In other words, amateurs do what they do because they love it not because they get paid. Let me suggest in the church that we become amateurs at loving. Get it? We love because we like to love not because it is expected of us or because we get benefits from it. Of course we don’t have to…but how are we to be in synch with the gospel if we don’t? Yeah I don’t know either.

Blessings to you my friends… Love one another as Christ loved you and gave his life for you.


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