I walk through this life.
I see broken and hurting people around me.
And I say, “I’ll pray for you, friend.”
But how many times do I wrap my arms around them with an encouraging hug?
How many times do I show up at their door with actual help, mourning with those who mourn, crying with those who are in pain, rejoicing with those who rejoice – versus throwing my words over the proverbial wall sprinkling my good intentions towards their lives?
How often do I care enough to act instead of just speaking?
Way too few, I fear.
I tell myself that words have power and that this message is important – and it is.
But if I am only studying it, if I am only sharing it, if I am only teaching it – can I strongly make the argument that I am a theologian, but weakly defend that I am a follower of Christ?
Am I finding myself satisfied just being a mouthpiece, a noisy gong – because it isn’t as messy as getting involved in the dirty job of actually loving and helping others that are in pain?
Am I closing off my life from loving and serving others because I’m tucked away on my own with my Bible, and my concordance, and my prayers, and my praise, and my worship, and my seeking to understand God’s will and direction for my life – blindly looking for the forest, and complaining about all of these trees that are getting in the way along my way to find the forest?
The greatest religious scholars may be great theologians, but are they walking like Christ, trusting in Him?
Or are we “studiers of the Word” relying on our intellectual pursuit to put God inside a box small enough to be contained neatly packaged within the “safe” confines of our own understanding?
Or am I a friend to those in pain? Like He is a friend to me when I am hurting?
Please, don’t let me just be a student, I want to be a friend of Christ. And if I am a friend of Christ, won’t I be like Christ – and be a friend to others? Even a friend to those who might think to themselves that they are my enemy.
Because isn’t this the amazing story of Christ, that He was our friend – even when we were His enemy?
Isn’t this the part that is so hard for us to grasp with our hardened hearts and our intellectual struggles to understand what is so simple that a child understands it better than we do?
He loves, so we should love.
Love extended without an expectation that it be repaid.
Love extended in hope that it might be accepted.
Love extended to friend and to enemy.
1 Corinthians 13:2-7 NLT
If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing.
If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
If I have one thing, let it be love.
If I can have two things let them be Love and Wisdom.
But please, don’t let me mistake knowledge for understanding, nor understanding for wisdom, nor wisdom for love.
We are called to love.
And if we have this love of Christ in our jar, it need to be poured out into others as well.
I love you, friend. Have a blessed Saturday.
Please pray for me to be a friend, not just a student.