Every day it seems that the world we live in is becoming less loving. If you turn on the news on any given day there are a few set things that one has grown accustomed to see. A President saying obscene things, loss of lives, scandals and mistreatment. There is one important thing that is lacking in all of the stories, and in general, our society.
There is a fundamental flaw with the English term for love: "For God so loved the world" and "I love blueberry pop tarts," are very different types of love, and yet we only have one word for them in English.
The Greek term "agape" means selfless love. This is the type of love that God the Father and Jesus Christ founded salvation on. Love is the foundation of Christ’s ministry and his time on earth. It was because of God’s selfless love (agape) for the human race that he gave his only son. Jesus Christ sacrificed so much because of his selfless love (agape) for the ones who persecuted him. Paul had such a beautiful understanding of the power of love and the role it played in God’s kingdom. “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 do not have love, I am nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:2).
Love is not a feeling, but an action. In the verse above, Paul gives a few powerful ways to advance God’s kingdom, but at the very end he states that love is the most powerful action that one can have. That it must be at the base of all actions. Without love, one’s actions mean nothing.
What does agape look like in action? Take a look at a classic parable.
“A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have” (Luke 10:30-35).
The thing that strikes me as the most powerful, is look who stopped for him and took care of him. It wasn’t a religious leader, it was not a fellow countryman, it was a random foreigner who was an outcast in society and wasn’t even in his own country. But he did the actions that the others failed to do.
This message really speaks to me and shows how to use the love that Christ showed me to others. It is really easy for me to sit in Pioneer Memorial Church and listen to Dwight Nelson give another wonderful sermon. But I wasn’t called to become a follower of Christ to just sit in a comfy pew and listen to sermons. My God is a God of action, my Savior is a man of action. This world needs a lot of love. Our communities need a lot of love. It is our duties as follower of Christ to follow the example that he left on earth.
We must choose love over all.
Love, Noah Bishop
Noah Bishop is a freshman attending Andrews University.