The Apostle Paul makes a seemingly simple statement towards the end of his first letter to the Corinthian church. Four words. “Do everything in love.” (1 Corinthians 16:4)
It begins to get complicated very quickly when we understand the implication. That second word, ‘everything’, is where it all gets a bit messy. He doesn’t say ‘some things’, ‘most things’ or ‘as many things as you are able’. He says, “Do EVERYTHING in love”. The Message version puts it this way, “love without stopping.”
Surely not. Is that even possible? Even when that guy… ? Yep. What about if… ? Uh-huh. Is there a disclaimer on this? No.
A few chapters back, Paul asserts that if we don’t do everything in love our efforts are wasted and we gain nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:1-3) Which means, no matter what I say, what I believe or what I do it counts for nothing if it’s not done in love.
Love gives meaning and form. With love everything else matters. Without love nothing else matters.
How can we love without stopping? Where do we even begin?
Firstly, as per my previous post, we need to understand the order of things.
Secondly, we need to put it into practice.
For me, it’s about constantly placing Jesus first and reminding myself of His primacy in my life. Then it’s about asking and allowing the Holy Spirit to work in and through me.
To help me do that, I wrote a psalm. I read it to myself most days (generally at the beginning of the day). I’ve included it below.
Beyond that, I’ve got nothing. Sorry.
I do wish us Christians and Churches would grapple with this more. If we did, I’d hazard a guess that our reputation would be more of love and less of exclusion, distrust and judgement.
I’d really value your thoughts, how do you think we can love without stopping?
May your week be filled with love and may you pass that love on to those you meet.
First Things First – A Psalm of Aleem
All of heaven declares your wonder LORD;
All of creation proclaims the splendor of your presence.
You are the master micro surgeon;
You are the grand architect.
You formed my DNA;
You set the planets in motion.
From micro to macro you hold everything in your hand;
All of it speaks to your mercy, wisdom, power and love.
You have called me; and I have answered.
And yet the task at hand feels too great.
Who am I that you would call me?
I am inadequate.
I fall short.
Time and time again I fall short.
Forgive me LORD.
Forgive me of my failings.
Forgive my doubt.
Forgive my desire for comfort.
Forgive my complacency.
May I only ever seek and find my righteousness in you Jesus.
Then I can stand in your presence;
Then I can overflow with your Love;
Then your strength is made perfect and revealed in my weakness.
The task is overwhelming only because I dwell on it more than I seek you.
Jesus you are my primary focus;
I am only equipped for the task because of you.
You are my purpose.
You are my prayer.
You are my praise.
You are my worship.
You are my love.
You cause my lungs to draw in breath and blood to course through my veins.
The task is at hand but you guide their work.
Oh LORD, you first!
May my dealings be with you first.
For then my family, then your people will see you at work in me and they will put you first too.
You are mighty and worthy of all my praise and all my devotion.
You are my shepherd.
Cause me to shepherd as you do.