I’m a problem-solver, a fixer, a mender-of-all-things-broken. It makes little difference to me if it’s person, place or thing. If all is not well, everything in me yearns to facilitate restoration. For many years, it made little difference to me if the restoration would be wanted or received. I needed to fix it. I needed to fix it because I was broken. I was broken and I didn’t even know it. I didn’t realize for a very long time that my motive for fixing things was to make me ok. I thought I was serving in love. What a set-up! All it took was a couple of lies from the enemy of my soul to send me on endless pursuits of false peace. First lie – my identity, value and significance were directly related to my accomplishments. Second lie – it was my responsibility to single-handedly save the world. Exhausting! And wrong. So very, very wrong. Satan took a part of God’s image in me, the heart of God for the wholeness of His children, and twisted and extorted it and used it for harm.
I am oh-so-happy (and grateful) to report that those lies from the enemy have been replaced with the truth of the Lord. First truth – my identity is Child of God and my value and significance are determined by Him. Second truth – Jesus came to save the world. My responsibility is to love the world and point them to Jesus. Whew! I still have the desire for the healing and wholeness of, well, everyone. I just know that I am not to rely on my power to get that result. I am to rely on the leading of the Holy Spirit to know my part and rely on the power of Christ to accomplish it.
Our part is always to love. Sometimes, that is our only part. This can be frustrating for a ‘fixer’ like me. Especially when it looks like our love is failing. When we don’t see results. When it seems like we have more to offer that would be helpful. Danny Lee Silk recently posted this to his Facebook timeline:
I recently became acquainted with Flower Patch Farm Girl, written by a precious woman of God named Shannan. I have been reading up on her blog posts and getting to know her. The other day, she posted this. Her heart cry echoes mine. At the end, she says, “Nothing is wasted. Nothing is hopeless. No one is beyond His reach.”
As I read these last lines, I was reminded of a story I read this week. I found it again here. It tells the story of a cab driver who picks up an elderly woman who is on her way to hospice. He recognizes the opportunity to bless this woman and he is humbled. And he is blessed in that he is aware of the significance of his sacrifice. This is not always the case. Sometimes it just looks like the nice guy always finishes last.
1 Corinthians 13:8 tells us ‘love never fails’. This is hard for us to imagine because we have been using the wrong measure for success. And the wrong measure of love. In the 1 Corinthians 13 passage, ‘love’ is originally in the Greek ‘agape’. When you hear ‘love is a verb’ – this is it. This is the rubber that meets the road – the love that is only recognized when it is in action. It is the love of God from the heart of God – reflecting the choice of the giver and not the worthiness of the recipient. It is not based on the feelings of the flesh. It is the love that intends good for all. It is the love resulting from our intentional obedience.
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” – Matthew 22:36-40. The original Greek word for ‘love’ in these verses is agapaó. This is the love that compels us to encourage others to seek and pursue the Lord. The measure of love is the motive with which we are loving. The commandment is to give love with the motive of pointing others to the Lord.
And then there’s the measure of success. We think that in order for it to be a successful and complete transaction, we have to give the love, then the love has to be acknowledged and received by the intended recipient. No. And yes. What? Nowhere that I know of does it command us to force the intended recipient to receive the gift of love we are offering. God gave us free will in the first place – He would not expect us to overcome the free will of someone else by forcing them to receive love from us or give love to Him. That would be like presenting someone with a tangible, wrapped gift, forcing them to receive it, open it and use it. We all realize there is an expectation that that will be the outcome. Realistically, that is only an assumption – not a guarantee. Yet we tend to feel responsible for the entire process.
Think about it this way – we have the equation right; it is the intended recipient we have wrong. No, the intended recipient does not have to acknowledge and receive – IF we are intending the recipient to be a person other than Christ. Yes, our motive should be pointing someone to Jesus, in which case He will receive it. Matthew 25:40 – “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ When we are giving love with the pure motive of helping others to seek the Giver, the recipient of our love is Jesus. He will always receive it.
I have also been getting acquainted with Erica Layne at Let Why Lead. She nails it with this from her ‘about’ page: “The name of the blog stems from the idea of letting why you live determine how you live. I’ve noticed that continually remembering the whys of my life—my deepest intentions—helps me let go of some of the pressure to do it all.”
I have been struggling lately with what I’m tempted to view as the lack of meaningful contributions I’m making these days. I forget about the ‘why’ when it comes to ‘ordinary’ things like housework, grocery shopping, menu-planning and running errands. It is hard to remember that no matter how insignificant or mundane it feels – when we are walking in obedience and loving God’s children with His heart, it is truth that ‘love never fails’.
It is easy to think that to have a huge impact in the Kingdom, we have to be a legendary pastor, prophet, speaker, author, musician ……. I can rattle off a list of giants of the faith who are well known for making a huge impact for the Lord. Who is your Kingdom hero? Do you think they just woke up one day and were suddenly and immediately anointed and activated into their ministry? It may happen once in a while – all things are possible with God; more than likely they were loved, encouraged and mentored by at least one person – or a community of persons. Seeds of unfailing love were planted in their lives by people whose names may never be known by anyone other than the Lord. But, oh what a harvest. Our seemingly insignificant, mundane life is sowing into those around us – our families and friends, our co-workers, the clerk at the grocery – and even – our enemies. When we sow the unfailing love of God, as Shannan says – “Nothing is wasted. Nothing is hopeless. No one is beyond His reach.”