Love. It is the first and foremost command Jesus gave us, yet all too many believers neglect to follow it.
“This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”(John 15:12-13)
I perceive that there is a vast difference between love and seemly, that love has a price attached to it, which is not always easy to measure when one is not at the beach or in a garden with friends. It is so easy to feel love for those things, yet not be able to give same to people that are not a part of our love.
The beaches I have found in Japan, India and other countries that are popular tourist spots are generally warm and sunny. You cannot always rely on it to be a profitable vacation. People go on holidays to have happy and prosperous holidays. They also spend their hard earned money to take care of the basic necessities of life.
I love to go to the countryside and walk around the charming villages. I love the feel of the Japanese urbanites, the dirt, the grittiness of the air, the pulse of their ancient culture and the peacefulness of the silence. So much surprises and beauty there. If we but remain in the quietness of the countryside, we senses our unique connection with all life and our deep sense of connection with God.
Many years ago my parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. They had gone to Baja several times, but it was the first time I felt the love of their life. I sat along beside the pool at their wedding. I remember the ceremony and everything that was said, I remember my mother’s voice like a symphony through the stress and strain of time. I remember the view of the ocean, the sand and the sea. The simple things of life that we tend to neglect in our rush to live the American dream is what we tend to treasure most when all of our thoughts are focused on the things that money can buy.
The love that we tend to hold in is the only thing that we should desire to hold instead of the other. Don’t misunderstand, the love of the Lord is intense and you don’t want to miss it because you are busy with other things. Your task is not to do the work of the Lord but to hold the love in you (1 Corinthians 13:4). A perfect example of this is the life of Paul the apostle. He worked as a tent maker. He loved the tentmaking business. Sometimes on his journey, he would sleep in a tent, and other times he would put up his tent and travel around the countryside. Though he was a great apostle and worked many miracles there was never a time that he did not love the Lord and his work. After his mission in Corinth, he stayed in the city an extra 3 years and then had to return to his home city of Jerusalem. He ministered to the Lord for another 3 years, and then left to return to Asia. Though he was away from the world for 3 years he returned it was love that kept him there.
If we can forsake the things of the world and pursue the work of the Lord, it will take us away from the things of the world and we will receive everything that God has promised us. Jesus said that He has not come to bring peace but a sword (John 10:10). If we pursue the things of the world, we will find ourselves pursuing the sword. Many people in the Bible did just that, some did it with their eyes on the love of money, others with the love of power and some with the love of their country. If we can place our main trust in the things of the world, we will place our trust in not only our own riches but also in the fortunes of other people’s lives.
This is not to say that we should not use the gifts and resources of the world to reach others. There are many practical projects that can be done and many ways to help others. We should be giving to others so that they can help others. However, to become totally self-sufficient as an apostle or missionary, that would be unrealistic. The most we can do is to use whatever gifts and resources God has given us to reach others.
The love of money is the root of all evil (1 Timothy 6:10).
If you think this article was about the ” hating the world or loving the world (Matthew 6:24)” then you might be missing the whole idea.
I believe the best thing to do is to love the people who God is teaching us to love. If we rail hard against the world as some Bible writers did, then we will be sure to miss many opportunities to share the Gospel with them.