In my last post I talked about how love is one of the non-optional ingredients to a powerful ministry. I defined it as treating people as if you like them – whether you do or not, whether you know them or not and whether you are in their presence or not.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
I Corinthians 13:7
This is the atmosphere that should surround God’s people. When you’re ministering to others, all these aspects should be evident in your work.
Too often, we’re guilty of loving our ministry more than the people we’re called to perfect. This verse tells us that we’re to always protect, trust in, hope for and persevere for THE PEOPLE.
The ministry is a good thing. But it’s still a thing. Things can never be more important than people. Excellence will never develop in an atmosphere where you love the ministry to the extent that you do not care for the people.
You are not their Lord, Jesus is. Your ministry is never more important than God’s plan for their individual lives. If you’re walking in the way of love, you’ll be able to balance the two.
Love for people must start with your family. Too many Christians think that it’s noble to give up their family for “God’s work.”
I even heard a guest minister once prove how devoted he was to the ministry by saying that his children were not walking with the Lord. It was a sacrifice he had to make for the ministry. I never let him preach at our church again. God has never accepted child sacrifice. The Bible is clear that ministry begins at home.
Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
It’s clear from the life of Christ (and we probably don’t want to hear it) that the way of love sees everyone as our friends. Jesus even laid down His life for those who were His sworn enemies. If so, then He included the whole race of mankind into His list of “friends.”
We cannot use this verse for an excuse not to love. Christ’s example stops us from doing this. He laid down His life for the Pharisee and the Atheist, as well as the disciples. When you walk in the love of Christ, you exhibit the same evidence of love that He did.
But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.
Faith and love – they’re the two non-negotiable items with God. Scripture makes it clear that without faith it is impossible to please God. But just as true is the verse we looked at in the last post that clearly states that if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. You cannot please Him unless both are in operation.
Paul wasn’t forgetful either. He didn’t call the breastplate one thing here and then forget about it and call it righteousness somewhere else. The combination of faith expressing itself through love is the completion of our righteousness.
Without them both in balance and harmony, our works are not complete before God. That’s why you must be sensitive to the Lord and seek to develop both. Without them, you have no chance of developing the kind of ministry that will change the world around you.
Question: How has God’s love been evident through you lately?
© Nick Zaccardi 2015