February is when we celebrate “Love” as an American culture – obviously on Valentine’s Day. We love to use that word “love” quite loosely throughout the year. Unfortunately, I don’t think we always give thought to the weight of the word, as it originated. I share it often in pastoral counsel and coaching, “Love” is not a noun; the word is a verb. It requires action! To say that I love someone requires a demonstration which exhibits that I truly understand the meaning of the word and mean it such that I support my speaking of it with actions. I say it this way, “Love is the most SELFLESS act one can commit in the entirety of a lifetime . . .”
Let’s think about that for a moment. From my personal life to how I interact with the people in my circles of influence, do I truly demonstrate the love I claim to have for people? If we look to references like I Corinthians chapter 13, and how love is defined by the prompting of the One who is the very essence of love, as He inspired the Apostle Paul to pen this letter to the people of faith in a city known as Corinth, we all have to begin to evaluate our actions far more closely.
When we begin to read words like, “love is patient, love thinks no evil, love doesn’t behave rudely”, etc., suddenly this ole preacher boy has to evaluate. READ THIS PASSAGE IN ITS ENTIRITY!! Again, we throw this word around like a bag of gummy bears from the candy aisle. In truth, love is not at all just some sweet, soft and flowery sentiment. Love is weighty! WE ARE OUTRIGHT LIARS AND HYPOCRITES if we “SAY” that we love, but with the same breath our actions demonstrate anything but love! Then we are faced with the reality from the mouth of Christ Himself that the entire Word, from Genesis to Maps (Lol!) hangs on two things – LOVE God and LOVE your neighbor!! (Matthew 22:34-40)
OUCH! Then Christ goes on to reveal that if we say that we “Love” Him, but hate our brothers, we are noting but a bunch of liars. (I John 4:20) Dang! This business of “love”gets to be serious business pretty quickly, it seems. By now you’re probably asking, “SO, where are you going with this whole LOVE thing, Brother Royce? How does this apply to me or to Yazoo overall?” Well, here it is, as I see it.
We as believers can talk a good game and sing of our love for Jesus every Sunday as we show up at our favorite local spot and warm our claimed pew, but to put it in good ole Southern terms, me might as well be spittin’ in the wind, if there is no LIVING out that love in this community, and there are some real and relevant acts of love being planned in this community. From inviting “the church” to leave the building and make a difference in our city parks, to walking the streets and praying with folks as we hand out bibles, a great passion is rising among believers and faith leaders to link arms and demonstrate the love of Christ in some practical and tangible ways. PLEASE NOTE!! Getting involved in “Being” the love of Christ will get costly and it will put you at the feet of men and women whom you were taught were not deserving of your service – because of a denominational banner, socioeconomics, or other differences. So again, to DO love, will cause an absolute abandonment of selfish pride – love, the most selfless act . . . (You read it.) So, where are you in this picture?
For me, I’m having to evaluate my level of commitment and double down on stepping into Kingdom purpose a little bit deeper in 2019. We as believers in Yazoo County can say that we love God because we have a restored relationship with Him through Christ’s redemption, but our actions toward even the least around us WILL tell the truth of whether our profession is one of idle words, or a truly transformed heart committed to loving as we were first loved. (Matthew 25:40) So, as another old saying goes, “this is where the rubber meets the road.” If those who do not know the love of Christ see nothing but in-fighting, dissention, and disagreement among those of us who claim God’s love, usually because of the denominational banners we wear, then how can we ever expect those same people to come near the love we claim to hold dear?
They are CLEARLY hearing one message from our mouths while observing actions that speak just the opposite. We must ask ourselves, as those who claim a love for Christ, “How”!
How will Yazoo County see us demonstrating our love for God and our love for those who live around us – the two commands on which Christ said hung the prophets and the law – the entirety of The Word?
For His Fame, Glory, and Renown - Brother Royce I Cor. 9:16
Rev. Royce R. Lott, Jr. is pastor of Satartia First. All comments should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org