I had a visit with my sister last night and we talked of many things. But we talked the most about our faith and how it has grown and evolved through the years, both of us having spent our lives very actively engaged in the church. We’ve heard multitudes of sermons, attended countless bible studies, taught an abundance of classes, and written thousands of notes on all that we have learned. We’ve gotten some of it right and some of it wrong and have no intentions of ever relenting in our pursuit of more of Him. But as we talk and share where we are right now and where He is leading us, we are finding that many things we think we’ve learned have become less and less important.
Perhaps important isn’t the best word. Perhaps it is better said that much of the knowledge we possess (or think we possess) is no longer at the top of the list of what fuels our desire for Him. This life as a Jesus-follower is becoming clearer every day and with that clarity an uncomfortable simplicity. No matter which way our discussion took us last night, we continually came back to the same place. We have been given one job: LOVE. It is to be the root and foundation of every thought and action of our lives.
If our “one job” were visible in picture form, what would it look like??
This last one would be funny no matter what the fortune turned out to be, but really…? While the cookie is intact and the little slip of paper is very neatly packaged with it, it is in truth not a job well done. Does it matter? You still get a cookie and a fortune, right? Ask the manufacturer. It matters.
Are we so busy in the work of Christianity that we’ve missed the point? Does it matter if we dole out our brand of compromised Christian love, giving it only to those who are willing to be neatly packaged with us conforming to our ideas of right and wrong? Does it matter if we rail (publicly or privately) against the sinner through our fears that their lifestyle will taint our comfortable world? Does it matter that we drive by the homeless without a thought, much less an action? Does it matter what we say and do toward those who are unrepentant and even antagonistic toward us, His children? Let’s ask our Maker…
But I say to you who are listening now to Me: make it a practice to love your enemies, treat well – do good to, act nobly toward – those who detest you and pursue you with hatred. Invoke blessings upon and pray for the happiness of those who curse you, implore God’s blessing and favor upon those who abuse you – who revile, reproach, disparage, and high-handedly misuse you. To the one who strikes you on the jaw or cheek, offer the other jaw or cheek also; and from him who takes away your outer garment, do not withhold your undergarment as well. Give away to everyone who begs of you…
If you merely love those who love you, what quality of credit and thanks is that to you?…But love your enemies and be kind and do good – doing favors so that someone derives benefit from them – and lend, expecting and hoping for nothing in return but considering nothing as lost and despairing of no one; and then your recompense will be great and you will be sons of the Most High, for He is kind and charitable and good to the ungrateful and the selfish and wicked. So be merciful – sympathetic, tender, responsive and compassionate – even as your Father is all of these.
Make no mistake: simple and easy are not the same thing. The command is simple: lacking complexity, not hard to understand, and not having many parts. Love God, love others like He does. This simple instruction, however, is hard in the “doing”. It is not easy. It is not comfortable. It is not without difficulty or pain. To fulfill this command is to put our own opinions and feelings to death. It is to allow ourselves to be emptied of ourselves and filled with Him. Loving as He loved. Unconditionally. Extravagantly. To the extreme.
It is the evidence to the world that He exists, that we are His, and that His extravagant love can bring to them healing and hope and forgiveness and eternal life.
He who does not love has not become acquainted with God – does not and never did know Him – for God is love.
We have been given one job. Let’s do it well. The greatest blessings come in doing life His way. In the end it will not be the hours we’ve sat through sermons or the volumes of study notes we’ve accumulated that matter. What will stand for all eternity is that we accepted the lavish love He has given and allowed ourselves to be vessels that spilled that love onto everyone we encountered.
“You had one job.” It will be worth it all to hear Him say “Well done.”
Matthew 5 & 25, Luke 6, and 1 John 4
“You had ONE job…” was written by Kay Stinnett and first appeared on http://www.ourpassionatepurpose.com