Working in Love
Working in Love
Though there were several boys coming to Kim’s Bible class he was having some trouble teaching it. He carefully prepared his lesson for his students and taught it as well as he could. He spent extra effort thinking of interesting things for them to do as part of their learning. But there were times when they didn’t pay attention. Often they acted differently than he remembered behaving as a boy. They said things that seemed disrespectful. All of this disturbed Kim. Yet he knew that the Lord had guided him to this ministry.
One day during the week Kim was reading his Bible and thinking about his class of boys. As he read John 13 he noticed that Jesus washed His disciples’ feet. Then in verse 34 he read the new commandment that Jesus gave to His disciples: they were to love each other as Jesus had loved them. Though Kim had read these things before, now he saw them in a new way. He began to realize that there was more to working for the Lord than just using his ministry gift. He must learn to love those he helped and worked with, and that included the boys in his class.
Love is from God
When we read the Bible we do not need to search long to find that God has shown His love to us. “This is what love is: it is not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the means by which our sins are forgiven” (1 John 4:10).
There is no love greater than God’s love. The Father loves so much that He gave His Son. The Son loved so much that He gave His life. Jesus did not die for His friends, but for His enemies. Can any love be greater? “But God has shown us how much he loves us it was while we were still sinners that Christ died for us!”(Romans 5:8).
In Luke 15:11-24 we read the story Jesus told of a young man who wasted his life and the money his father gave him. At home the father waited. On the day the son came home, the father was there. He saw his son before he reached the home place. He threw his arms around him and rejoiced because he was home at last.
Why did Jesus tell this story? He wanted us to know how God feels about everyone. God does not love only the pretty ones or the clean ones or those who have tried to be good. His love is far greater than human love, for God is love, and He loves everyone.
Let me tell you a true story about a pastor whom I will call pastor John. Some young people began attending the services in his church. They dressed in a way he could not accept. He let them come, but in his heart he did not really love them. They were different.
One day while he was in prayer, the Holy Spirit said to him: “John, you do not love these young people. You only love those who think like you. You only love those who are like yourself.”
This surprised pastor John. He knelt in prayer for a long time. He did not want to admit that he did not love everyone. Yet he knew it was true; he did not really love those young people. He allowed God to change his heart and he began to welcome them. He taught them God’s Word and they brought their friends. They all felt loved in pastor John’s church. God’s love reached them because pastor John let God change his heart and love them through him.
God’s love is in your heart. God can make you able to love the one who is wasting his life in sin. He can make you able to love the one in prison. He can make you able to love anyone.
Love is Needed
God has given Christians a great responsibility. In Matthew 5 we read these words: “You are like salt for all mankind . . . You are like light for the whole world . . . Your light must shine before people, so that they will see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven” (vv. 13, 14, 16).
Unless the lives of Christian workers are different from those of the unsaved, how will the world see Jesus?
The Christian worker is like a sample. A sample is a small part of the real thing. If you take a sample of bread you take a bite out of the loaf. The bite is exactly like the rest of the loaf. When the world looks at us they should see the sample of the real thing. You may be all of God that some people will ever see. How much we need to be like God!
When people see your light they will be drawn to Jesus, the Light of the world. When they see your love they will be drawn to God, who is love. When they see the good things you do they will know that God is in you and they will praise Him (Matthew 5:16).
It will not always be easy to be like God. When Jesus was here on earth it was not easy for Him. Your love will be tested. You will not always feel like “going the second mile” (Matthew 5:41). But if you do you will be showing the Father’s love.
Our ministry will change people’s lives when we are changed by the Holy Spirit. True love will act. We will be drawn to those who have need when we are ready to minister to their needs. Love flows into the area of need.
Let us sum it all up in this way: “My children, our love should not be just words and talk; it must be true love, which shows itself in action” (1 John 3:18).
Love brings Results
If Christ is in us, His love is in us. Remember that we said that when God is in us He lives out Himself in our actions. He will be in us as we allow Him to express Himself.
God’s love reaches where your love alone will not go. God loved us when we were still sinners. God’s love in us will love sinners. God loved His enemies. God’s love in us will love our enemies. God loved those who rejected Him (Luke 23:34). God’s love in us will love those who mistreat us (Matthew 5:11-12).
So it is possible to love everyone. We can do this when we let God’s love flow through us to them. This love is for you. It will do many things that your own love will not do.
What a wonderful gift the Holy Spirit is to us! The Holy Spirit does not just come upon you once and that is all. The Spirit abides with you. Jesus said, “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, who will stay with you forever” (John 14:16).
While the Spirit lives in you He works in you. One of the things He does is produce the fruit of the Spirit in you. This fruit is not any natural goodness that a man might have. If you will read Galatians 5:19-21 you will see what the natural man is like. How opposite is the product that the Holy Spirit causes to grow in the believer!
Do you see that in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 we are told how love shows each of the qualities named in Galatians 5:22-23? How important love is! And how important it is for a Christian worker to show God’s love. As we read in 1 Corinthians 13:2, “I may have the gift of inspired preaching; I may have all knowledge and understand all secrets; I may have all the faith needed to move mountains, but if I have no love, I am nothing.”
When God made the world He made everything to produce after its kind (Genesis 1). This is true with the Holy Spirit’s work in us too. He produces after His kind, and He produces it in us. He makes it possible for us to love.