Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A choice

Last week, my sister-in-love, Leslie, and I were talking... about family, about commitments, about busy-ness, about priorities, about sacrifice. And about Love... in action. In our families. All the time. About inconvenience and about service. About selflessness and about grace.

And I was reminded, as I so often need to be, that Love is NOT a feeling; it's a choice, and it puts others first... always. ALWAYS. It never seeks its own, and it never keeps a record of wrongs suffered. Instead, it seeks to serve another. It seeks to encourage another. It seeks to GIVE and BLESS and CHERISH another as it understands and accepts and embraces and hopes.

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love,
I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge,
and if I have a faith that can move mountains,
but have not love,
I am nothing.
If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames,
but have not love,
I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered,
it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails.

(1 Corinthians 13:1-8)

And now, a few days later, I have to wonder... why is it that love-- true LOVE-- is so rarely seen in this earthly realm?? Why do we, on most occasions, only see some misshapen, contorted resemblance of the real thing? I mean, even amongst christians... amongst believers in the risen Christ... amongst families... LOVE, in its truest form, is so often non-existent. Why. is. that?

You see, over and over again, I'm being reminded that Love is sacrifice. It's attending a nephew's ball game instead of watching an HBO movie. It's driving a few hours to attend a celebration instead of lazing around the house. It's giving up a free weekend to partake in an out of town gathering because your presence would mean a great deal to the host. It's sacrifice. Plain and simple.

Now... don't get me wrong, I don't have this Love thing down to a science. I am still a sinner--flawed... imperfect... and struggling. But I DO have the perfect example to follow. I have HIS example.... His ultimate & perfect example... selflessess to the core... in action... as He sacrificed everything-- EVERYTHING...

He gave up His Son.

For me.

And then He called me to Love like Him. To follow His lead. To walk His path.

And not just for my gain, but for my children, too. Because how much harder will it be for them to learn to give of themselves if they never see it modeled for them? How much harder will it be for them to learn to put the needs of another above their own if I never do so myself? How much harder will it be for them to learn to glorify the One who is worthy of all glory if I behave as one who only seeks self-attention, self-acknowledgement, and self-satisfaction? And how can I ever expect my children to serve with a heart like Jesus unless they daily see it modeled here?

Hmmm. That's a tough one.

But not impossible. Because God-- who has called me to every good work-- will equip me by the power of His Holy Spirit. And by His grace, each day... there'll be a little bit less of me and a little bit more of Him.

Yes, sacrifice costs. It means giving up that evening movie. It means giving up that Saturday shopping spree. It means giving up that nap or that lunch date or that leisurely, stress-free weekend because the blessing of my time, my effort, my LOVE... bestowed on another... means so, so much more.

And because Jesus did it for me.

"Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends."

John 15:3


Carrie said...

So timely, my friend!!

I read a very similar post yesterday about how Jesus gave *of Himself* and I should do likewise ... and felt convicted. Also, I have been convicted that the kids and I need to memorize 1 Cor 13 together. And finally, I post about getting a SIL, and you post about your sister-in-love who sounds like a great friend!!!

You just MUST be my long, lost twin!

gretchen said...

You said a mouthful! Miss you. and Love you!

60 toes said...

Great reminder, Heather. Thanks for all of your real life examples of sacrifice. Some hit close to home, I needed that.

Tell Leslie "Hello", does she have a blog?

Linda said...

This is so beautiful, so filled with great wisdom and absolute truth Heather. I often am weighted down by the guilt of my own selfishness; so sorry that often my first thoughts are about what it will cost me.
I am trying to live the love you speak of - to look at all of those things as a love offering back to Him. You will give your children a priceless gift as you model that love for them. And oh how you bless the Father's heart.