In my mind, the words “serve” and “love,” at least in this context, go hand-in-hand. I’m sure it’s possible to serve others without loving them, or love others without serving them, but I think the example Jesus gave us, especially in His death, is that to love others, we serve them first.
Love146 really emphasizes the fact that they do what they do in love, which is one of the things that I think draws me to volunteer for them. And Compassion does what they do in Jesus’s name, which appeals to me as well because it seems so often these days, it feels like we do things for our own name. For our own glory. And while it’s good that people are doing good things regardless of what their motives are, I love the idea of loving people, and specifically children, in Jesus’s name, especially in a world that seems to primarily do hateful things in Jesus’s name. This makes me think of the story in Matthew: “One day children were brought to Jesus in the hope that he would lay hands on them and pray over them. The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus intervened: ‘Let the children alone, don’t prevent them from coming to me. God’s kingdom is made up of people like these.'” Children are so often marginalized in this world, but I firmly believe it’s not supposed to be this way.
So the verses I’m claiming are I Corinthians 16:13-14:
Keep your eyes open, hold tight to your convictions, give it all you’ve got, be resolute, and love without stopping. (MSG)
The last part appeals to me the most….”love without stopping.” In my mind, it acknowledges the fact that sometimes loving is hard. I have a really, really hard time loving others sometimes, especially in recent years. But I think these verses get the message across that it’s not easy to love…it’s not easy to serve. Despite this, though, we have to persevere. We can’t give up because it’s hard, or inconvenient, or difficult, or doesn’t make sense, or the odds are stacked against us (as it feels is so often the case with poverty and the work that Love146 does). We have to keep loving and serving because it’s the right thing to do. It’s the thing we’re called to do.
So, though I’m not the best at loving or serving others, and I screw up so often, I still hold on to this little passage because it gives me a goal. It gives me an example of the person I’d like to be…..a better version of myself who serves others with a heart full of love for them.
Hopefully I can make decisions every day that bring me closer to that version.