The power of love
1 Corinthians 13:13
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. NIV
If there was one word to describe Jesus’ life and ministry, it was love. He told those who would love God to start by loving those around them, that in loving one another, we love God Himself in the most meaningful way possible. And He modelled that kind of love by laying down His life for us.
And what is love? He said love is reaching out to comfort those in need and sharing what you have with those who have little or nothing. It is standing up for the rights of those who are ill-treated, persecuted and marginalized. It’s giving up the things you hold dear that others might be built up, encouraged and helped.
And on that day when we stand before Him, He will require an accounting of the love and compassion we showed to the lost, hungry and hurting people all around us. What we did for them will be counted as what we did for Him! [Matthew 25:34-36]
There is great power in this God-kind of love. God has given the believer great power and authority but the greatest power of all is the power to love – to comfort, build up, inspire, encourage, strengthen, restore. It is the power to touch the soul of another and perhaps change the course of a person’s life. God values such service more than any other.
Sometimes, when we think of serving God, we wonder what great things we can do for Him. Often, it is the simple things that are needed most – reaching out to touch a brother who is weary and heavy-burdened, speaking a word of encouragement to someone who is struggling, just sitting beside someone who is hurting – sharing their pain, understanding their grief, letting them know that God cares, that they are not alone. God uses simple things like that to effect profound change. He has put us in the midst of hurting people for that very purpose.
I remember a young man, barely into adulthood, standing before my wife and me at the altar for ministry. He had tried to commit suicide with his father’s shotgun but ended up blowing a part of his face away and leaving him horribly disfigured. He just stood there before us weeping in deep anguish. We didn’t know what to say or do. Instinctively, we just reached out and hugged him and wept with Him. We stood there for some minutes and then a peace came over him. I sensed that somehow the pain and despair had eased, that the process of restoration and healing of the inner wounds had begun. Few words were spoken but the power of God’s love had reached out to him through us.
Love’s great power is waiting to be released through us – through our service to others, through our prayers, through our tears, through our touch, through our words, through our presence…love that a hurting world so desperately needs. If we hold back….
God so loved the world that He sent His only Son through us and in us to love the world.