Thursday, November 13, 2008

"If thou must love me, let it be for naught
Except for love's sake only."

I like this quote by Elizabeth Barrett Browing because it reminds me of one of the main reasons that brought me to Christ. I saw a woman at a church drawing posters for an upcoming event for the children. She was hard at it and I asked her something which I now forget, but I left realizing she was doing her task on volunteer time, for no reason other than her love for children. I was about 22 years old, childless, and in my world nothing was done unless there was a payback.

I sometimes wonder if we betray love when we befriend a person with the motive of converting them. I know that sounds odd, but if I am befriended by someone and later find out they wanted to sell me Amway products, I'm let down.

I chose this picture by Pietro Elice, because it reminded me that we love animals but for naught, but loves sake. I wonder if humans don't deserve the same?

When I was a young Christian, we would go down to skid-row with the express intention of just helping whoever we saw that needed help. I remember one older man in a phone booth who went in to use it for a toilet, and in his drunken state collapsed with his pants down to his thighs, we just helped him up, pulled up and fastened his pants and helped him find a place to lay down. I never forgot that incident.

"The fruit of the spirit is love....goodness..."

Just my ramblings.


Anonymous said...

I understand. Yet, there is a danger here. Both, both, both! One cannot seperate temporal from eternal love. Compassion can be shown even to those who have rejected Christ and we are called to do that, but not if (in so doing) we feel content in doing just that.

If that woman at the church "drawing posters" thought that in doing so she was working her way to heaven, we must love her enough to ask her why she is doing what she is doing.

A lost sinner can "love children" and be motivated by that love and yet never understand the love of Christ and their need for the Savior. Why He had to come; What He had to experience on our behalf; and, what He accomplished on the cross.

What humans deserve is that they understand why Christ had to suffer the penalty and wrath of God on their behalf. That is what they have to understand.

I never want to pull their pants up without sharing Christ with them. If I do, I leave them thinking that there are some kind people left on earth and their hope is in that.

Matt said...

I disagree, I believe we have to let people know there are good people left. The fervor of religion that makes one think you have to label and sign every good act in the name of your religion is man's fascination with building things on earth and not in heaven. Don't let one hand know what the other is doing...

Anonymous said...

I think the answer is spiritual focus, and deep, deep confidence about what is primary in life. The Apostles worked hard and long. But they were not impersonal or distant: “We were gentle among you, like a nurse taking care of her children. We were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us” (1 Thessalonians 2:7-8).

Be willing to share not only the gospel but yourself. I think that is where most of us struggle and fall more in one camp than the other. We either are willing to share ourselves and withold the gospel out of fear of offending, or we have no desire to share ourselves but are merely gospel "hit and run artists".

Perhaps that was what I meant by "Both, both, both!"

Anonymous said...

When we do one at the exclusion of the other, we fall very short of manifesting the love of Christ to others. Are we not called to minister to peoples minds, bodies, hearts and souls? That, to me, is the greatest display of the love of Christ flowing through His followers.

FCB said...

This is not as simple as I thought when I fist posted it and some great points have been made.
I was thinking of a letter I got from a friend I have known for twenty years and we were discussing an issue and he gave his opinion, then, like Matt said, he put this lengthy label and signature. I'll include it is an example --

"Very interesting, I somewhat agree.........
and I also believe that the Lord of Heaven and Earth will always do the absolutely correct and right thing in his Greatness and Wisdom and Mercy and Love mixed with perfect Justice for all concerned because I believe He is incapable of doing anything in error ever it is against His very Nature and essence."

Now the trailing label is often put on statements by some Christians and frakly, I don't see the need for it. Lengthy benedictions have there place but not after every deed or comment.

Now in the case of the drunken man, his need was dignity and safety, and in his state anything I would have said would have been wasted breath.

I like the what you said Matt and what anon said in the last two posts. In everything there is a season, and as Christians we know where the love comes from, it is all eternal love. Certainly there are times when words are seasonable, and times when actions without words are. Every action needn't have words, and ever word needn't have an action. I like that quote by Paul about sharing ourselves, or maybe more fully, who God has changed us to be.
When we are changed we will not be ashamed of the gospel, nor present it with pride, but ideally, all done in humility.
Some subjects are probably better felt than told.

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