(Posting a comment on this blog still qualifies you for the books to be given away later this month. Just click on the “comments” line in the upper right hand corner of the post. Scroll down — way down — to the September 20 & 21 posts for more details on the drawing.)
We spend a lot of our time and energy in God’s Church, it seems, on things that don’t really matter at all. Special meetings are called in the church foyer and around the church library conference table to discuss and decide critical matters of corporate worship and important points of Christian doctrine and pressing items regarding belief and/or practice and/or politics. We spend a lot of time and energy on all that. Way too much time and energy.
We spend a lot of our time and energy in God’s Church, it seems, complaining about things that don’t really matter at all. Concerned members question the order of service, worried ministers dispute the makeup of a committee, discontented congregants accuse others of straying from the path, uneasy elders lament the fading away of old leadership structures. We spend a lot of time and energy on that. Way too much time and energy.
We level charges and voice complaints, we fire off emails and whisper in the halls. There’s way too much of this going on in Christ’s Body. Too much.
We’ve lost our focus on Christ’s command, our Lord’s singular command, the most important command that outweighs them all.
“Love each other as I have loved you.”
While attempting to settle disputes between Christian brothers and sisters over gender issues and economic segregation and spiritual snobbery, the apostle Paul tells the Corinthian church that love trumps everything. Everything!
In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul makes it crystal clear that love is the question and the answer; it’s the beginning and the end; it’s the end-all, be-all to everything that might possibly harm or divide the community of faith.
All the preaching, all the prophesying, all the giving, all the good works are worthless — they have absolutely no value — if there’s not any love. Love is more important than faith. Love is more important than hope. I don’t know if we’ve ever really read that the way Paul wrote it. Love is more important than Christian faith. Seriously.
So, if love is really more important than faith and hope, if love is really more important than good preaching and good works — and it is — then love is more important than everything. Love trumps our worship assemblies and our worship styles. Love is bigger than our business meetings and church budgets. Love is more critical to life in Christ than any of our rules or doctrines. Love is bigger and more important than any issue that could ever possibly divide us.
And, if that’s true, why aren’t we as committed to loving each other as we are to our doctrines and practices?
We must place unconditional, God-ordained love in the supreme position of our hearts and minds in God’s Church. All our time and energy, all our strength and resources, should go first and forever toward loving each other. Then, as has been my experience and as is the teachings of our Lord, all that other stuff takes care of itself. Love trumps all.