If a stranger were to walk into your congregation today would they be able to see your love for one another? We are commanded many times in scripture to show fervent and active love for our brothers and sisters in Christ. Jesus even told His disciples that one of the ways people would be able to identify them was by their love for each other (John 13:35). Again I return to my opening question, is our love visible to others?
If a stranger were to walk into your congregation today would they be able to see your love for one another? – Kristy Huntsman
We live in a “mind your own business” society and that mentality tends to creep into the church; however, if you truly examine the scriptures you will find that there is no room for that attitude in Christianity. We are told to “bear one another’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2) and to “keep fervent in your love for one another” (1 Peter 4:8). In order to do this we must be intimately acquainted with the details of one another’s lives.
Often, when a public need comes up we are quick to meet it. If a special contribution is taken up for the tornado victims in Moore or our orphanage overseas needs a new roof, we are great about giving and fulfilling those requests. This is wonderful, but I will also say that sometimes this is the easy way out. Maybe it takes some financial sacrifice on my part, but it is pretty simple and impersonal to sit and write a check. We should be just as quick to meet each other’s private needs, when it would inconvenience us. Are our brothers and sisters sitting next to us simply warm bodies in the pew next to us, maybe even check marks on our prayer lists or are we actively seeking ways to help them on their path to heaven?
There are countless examples from scripture about true love being shown for others; here are a few that I have found to be extremely poignant examples. In Mark 2:1-5, we see the story of the cripple that is lowered through the roof by his friends so that Jesus can heal him. You have probably heard this account many times, but I want you to dwell on some of the specifics this time. It is difficult enough to get through a large crowd yourself, let alone while carrying someone else. Not only that, but once these men decided that they couldn’t get into the house where Jesus was, they climbed on top. They climbed a house while carrying a full grown man! Then, disregarding any legal or monetary consequences, they tore the roof off of the house to let him down. All of this was done based on the hope that Jesus might be able to help their friend. They were right and because of their great faith and effort, he was healed.
Let’s now take a look at a whole different kind of scenario; turn to Acts 18:24-26. This is the account where Aquilla and Pricilla correct Apollos. We know that Apollos was eloquent and “mighty in the Scriptures.” It should be noted that Aquilla and Pricilla knew their scripture enough that they understood the correct teaching on the matter of baptism. Not only this, but they loved Apollos and all those he was teaching enough to take him to the side and correct him. It must have been gut wrenching for them to take this man who they respected and recognized to have a good grasp of God’s Word and confront him on the error of his teaching. Because of Aquilla and Pricilla, Apollos went on to do some amazing things for God’s kingdom!
Another example of extreme love is found in 2 Samuel 9. Many of us know of the love between David and Jonathan (if you don’t then you should read 1 Samuel). They stand out as our definitive example of what friendship should be. This account takes place after Jonathan is dead and David has taken the throne. If you took the throne from another house one of the first things that you would do is to kill all of the members of the previous ruling family. David, however, doesn’t do this. Because of his great love for Jonathan, he disregards what would have seemed like simple “earthly wisdom” and calls in Mephibosheth, Jonathan’s crippled son. Not only does David spare his life, he vows to take care of him and allows him to dine at the king’s table for the rest of his life. This took a lot of humility and love on David’s part. No doubt many would have seen this as a fatal error in judgment on the new king’s part. It didn’t matter though, the love David bore for Jonathan was far more important than simple pride.
Would you be willing to give up your time, effort, pride and comfort for your brothers and sisters in Christ? If you looked out at your congregation today, what would you see? Do you see the college kids sitting over there, the older folks sitting in the middle and the young families on this side? Or do you see the individual souls that make up your congregation? Do you know the needs of each and every one? Can you even name everyone in your congregation? As you go about your week, make sure that the faces you see aren’t just names on a roster or check marks on your prayer list. How can you actively serve them and help them get to heaven? Make sure that if someone sees your actions on Sunday morning and throughout the week that they will say, “I know that they are Christians. Look at how much they love each other!”