9/6 Series: Love Does…...Loving What You Do John 13: 31-35
Regardless of age, gender, abilities, when we see someone really doing what they love, be it in their work, play, for someone or some purpose, there is a joy within them, a peace in their heart, they are smiling, because what they are doing isn’t a struggle at all, they love doing it! Pastor George says that Loving What You Do comes naturally out of you and your skills, gifts, abilities that drive you. Well then how come I’m stuck in a job I don’t like, a relationship that hurts, a battle that’s taking its toll on me? I’m trying my best in all of it. Maybe it’s times like those that we need to rethink Loving what you do. In that, whatever it is that you do, there is love. In both, the loving what you do times and those not so loving times, it is God’s love for us that keeps us doing. Pastor George reminded us that it’s not what is happening around me or you, but what Jesus has done and is doing within me and you. We do whatever because we are loved. In the scripture passage from John 13:34 we read, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” Our motivation, says Pastor George, is Love because I have already been loved.
This week’s study in Right Now Media was Love-First by Don McLaughlin. It addresses that very subject of God’s Love. A verse that we all can memorize and one that we need to impress upon our heart is from 1 John 4:19 “We love because He first loved us”. Don McLaughlin challenged our thinking in that: are we loving the idea of God? The one who created, the one who provides, the one who saves, on and on the attributes of God can be listed, instead of loving God. To emphasize our love for God in the right way, as a husband/wife or parent/child kind of love relationship. It’s how in the Bible where Jesus talks about how much He loves His bride – a love that never grows tired or is completely finished finding ways to fully express itself. We learn that God’s love is unconditional. There is no condition of our life that God would stop loving us. He is Love. Are we connecting with the loving God, asks Don, and do we live seriously the conditions of God’s love? He is referencing Matthew Chapter 12 where Jesus says, “First, love God with all your heart, mind, and strength.” It’s the first and greatest command, the command on which every other command is based upon.
McLaughlin states that the Creeds share the gospel, but in each creed, the Nicene Creed, the Apostles’ Creed, and the Athanasian Creed, something was missing, the word love was not mentioned once. He shared that God’s love is assumed through these creeds. We as believers live by what these Creeds say, as our Statement of Faith. In the Creed does it start with Love God and Love Your Neighbor, or is that assumed? Don McLaughlin’s First-Love is on a mission, driving for a personal revolution to love God first, for all believers to be living affectionately for God.
This is his Love-First Creed (that comes right out of scripture)
I BELIEVE – that God is Love. (1 John 4 vs. 7-8)
I BELIEVE – that God so loved the world that he gave his only Son. (John 3:16)
I BELIEVE – that God loved me when I was an enemy, I was sinful, I was ungodly. (Romans 5 vs. 6-11)
I BELIEVE – that the first and greatest commandment is that I would love God with all I am and
I BELIEVE – that the second commandment is liken to it, that I would love my neighbor as myself
I BELIEVE – that I must love my enemies and the ungrateful, and the wicked (Matthew 5 and Luke 6)
I BELIEVE – that if I claim to love God but do not love others, I am a liar and the truth is not in me (1 John 4)
I BELIEVE – that when I see my brothers and sisters in need, I must help them with my material possessions, or the love of God is not in me. (1 John 3)
Love-First teaches that you don’t just think about love, you are called into the conditions of love. Living effectively is living with the Father, and with fellow man. It’s ending hate say McLaughlin before it’s too late. He referenced 1 Corinthians 13:13 “… without love you gain nothing, and you are nothing.” He shared that we need something above the world to face what is in the world, to face the problems of the world. Love is not the first thing, love is the only thing, and we know love from God.
This is week three in our Love Does series where we are looking at Audacious Love. Bob Goff teaches that it’s something beautiful when you are so caught up in it. It’s expressing what’s going on inside of you. That joy, the peace, a happiness that explodes. It’s a kind of love that God has. The God of the universe is in love with you, he keeps coming back over and over again into our lives with his love for us. Bob asks, how does our love for one another make God visible? In loving another is it unconditional, continuous, active, it’s a new way of thinking about love, says Bob. It’s courage to act in spite of fear, to act creatively for and with God, to get involved in bringing heaven to earth. It’s our life being a presence in another’s as it continues to weave itself into the tapestry of every great story. It’s Loving What You Do regardless of how menial the task, said Pastor George. It’s a contagious enthusiasm, that’s the way love rolls – it multiplies!
As we heard in this week’s sermon message, we are God’s ambassadors. Pastor George stated a quote from Bob Goff’s book Love Does, “I was once afraid to fail at the things that really matter to me, now I’m afraid to succeed at things that don’t really matter at all.” What really matters in life? That’s a call to step outside of yourself, says Pastor George, to respond with the strength God gives to go and do, in love for others. We also heard that God’s love is a choice to make, an attitude, a behavior, a joy on the inside that is expressed on the outside as we Love One Another. This will bring God joy! Every relationship in love blesses us, says Don McLaughlin. He shared that Love IS patient, and Love IS kind, these position you with the power to do good. Our love position needs to model His love, put it into the center of all your relationships, God moved into the neighborhood through us, says Don.
Wherever you find yourself as you read this, Loving What You Do, or questioning how life is right now, Don McLaughlin offered these insights in closing out his series on Love-First: Love always trusts, trust that God can still work, that He is still engaged; Love always hopes, God’s glory is worth it, people are worth it, the planet is worth it, we’re not going to give up. Love always perseveres, God’s vision for the church is God’s love living in and through His church, the people of God, to transform the world. What in the world are we doing in the world? Loving What You Do, loving in what you do! Be the hands and feet and listening ear with God. Loving What You Do, Love-First, Love Does….it’s a choice that we make. How is your tapestry looking? We really won’t know until the other side of heaven. Keep threading love through the lives of others because you are not finished threading your life with others, the tapestry is still a work in progress.
Larry and Darlene