In considering love this week, I’ve thought a lot about what love in action might look like. I was reminded of a friend I knew a few years ago. He was pretty hit and miss in his church attendance. He would not have been able to deliver his testimony from the front of church. He did not know his Bible inside out. He did not have all the right answers. But he did know the names of all the children in the Primary School where he was the Head. He did show an interest in every individual he met. He would do anything for anyone. He never had a bad word to say about anyone.

I remember one night at house group, we were talking about discipleship and David said –

“I’m not sure I know exactly what discipleship is, but I do get out of bed every morning and say ‘I wonder how I can love as Jesus loved today’. Is that what you mean?”

David died very suddenly in his mid forties and at his funeral, the church was overflowing with individuals from all walks of life whose lives had been touched by this extra special man and his extraordinary love.

And then just last week, I attended a retirement ‘do’ for the tutor of  my Living Theology Today course in Durham. He had tutored the course for ten years, each year welcoming in a new set of students and walking with them through their head and heart journey of faith and discovery. When I received the invitation, I knew I had to go, but was concerned that there would be no one else there from my course. How wrong I was. The room was full of people whose lives had been changed by this man. Everyone was there because they wanted to testify to the difference that this one man had made to their faith and life.

But Jim is not a loud, confident, charismatic individual. He is the epitome of ‘unassuming‘. He is reserved and shrinks from the limelight. He hates being the centre of attention and does not stand out in a crowd. His knowledge of theology is extensive and deep and yet he values fresh insights from much less learned individuals like myself. His love is patient, gentle and kind. He seemed overwhelmed by the good wishes of us all, as if surprised that he had had an impact on so many lives.

Of course, the very best example of love in action that has ever lived is Jesus himself. Look for love in his every action. Look for love in his every word. Love is there to be found in all that Jesus did and said.

He did not heal the sick to show how spiritual he was.

He did not turn water into wine to prove a point.

He did not pick these particular disciples to make himself look good.

He did not cast out demons to prove how much God was using him.

He did not tell parables to get in with the in-crowd.

He did not walk on water to impress.

He did not calm the storm to gain respect.

He did not feed the five thousand to become popular.

He did not wash the disciples’ feet to make people look up to him.

It was all out of love. Love for his followers. Love for the sick. Love for the lost. Love for God. In Jesus, we find a kind and compassionate love. A love that cares and meets needs. A love that nurtures, cherishes and forgives. A love that is patient and humble.

 

Let us be inspired and challenged by love in action.

 

Let us learn to say with my friend – ‘I wonder how I can love as Jesus loved today’.