Following Christ’s example

Published 12:33 pm Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Last week I mentioned The Fruits of the Spirit. The first one is love.

In my own personal devotion, Chris Tiegreen stated very well that, “Love is not a luxury.” That is true. Love is not an option. Love has no age or gender, no nationality, no ethnicity and no border lines that should or shouldn’t be crossed. (Oops! Did I just type that?)

Love is the greatest commandment (Deuteronomy 6:5; Matthew 22:36-40); it’s the distinguishing mark of a disciple of Jesus (John 13:34-35); and it’s the core attribute of God himself (1 John 4:8, 16).

Those three facts, along with many others throughout scripture should be enough to illustrate that love is not just one characteristic to add to our obedience, faith and sacrifice. It’s really the center of it all. If we don’t have love, as Paul said (1 Corinthians 13), nothing else we do actually matters. Love — intentional, authentic love — needs to be our daily priority. It comes before to-do lists, keeping the kids in line, fulfilling our responsibilities and earning an income. We get so busy in our living that we often miss the spirit of life. I bet we have asked ourselves if this is all there is to life, or wonder why life seems so unfulfilling. If we want rich, full lives, we have to cultivate rich, full love. Love for God, love for neighbor and yes, healthy love for ourselves. You are each a beloved, precious child of God. The more we give, the more we receive, the richer life becomes.

PS: A question for reflection: Multiple choice. Where do you think we would find Jesus in the midst of our child separation/ immigration issue?

A. In Washington, lobbying or photo bombing with the president and/or Congress. B. In a TV station, giving interviews on CNN, FOX, NBC, ABC or CBS. C. At the border, humbly and unassumingly loving those who are hurting.

Your answer will probably show you exactly where your alliance to love lies. Don’t be mad at me … it’s not my opinion, it’s Christ’s example. If you consider yourself a follower of Jesus … there’s just no other way.

Tim Beck is pastor of Kenbridge United Methodist Church. His email address is revtimbeck@