What the World Needs Now...


Love has been a popular topic for years. It seems to grow more popular as the world gets uglier, holding center stage even in American politics.

The social liberals claim ownership of it and point to their peace marches and protests, as though shouted reminders to "Save the Whales" and "End Poverty Now" were giant steps to fulfilling those goals.

Social conservatives bristle at the accusations that their policies are unloving and point to their soup kitchens and orphanages as proof. They kiss a few babies, write a few checks, and stick their tongues out at the radicals.

"See?" everyone claims. "See how loving we are? See how much we do for the less fortunate? We're the true humanitarians, the true followers of Jesus, because we LOVE everyone."

OK. Let's be real for a minute.

None of us are all that loving. No, seriously. We're not. Towards each other, that is. We love ourselves. We love admiration. We even love the warm feeling that comes from helping someone else. We love to feel we are a part of something bigger, that our lives matter. We often give out of the sheer satisfaction of knowing that our benevolence puts us a couple steps ahead of the self-absorbed materialist.

Even during those rare selfless moments when we might throw ourselves in front of a moving train for a total stranger, even in those times when we are most impressed with our selflessness, we are aware that this exalted attitude probably won't last long.

The bottom line is that we are all self-centered to the core. Even our benevolence has a selfish ring. Somewhere underneath our apparent generosity lies a me-first mentality that is hard to shake.

When I am asked why I spend so many hours pouring my life and my time into people who are not necessarily thankful for my effort, the questioner often assumes it is because I love people.

They are wrong. I do not love people.
And even if I did, my selfish efforts to love them would fall flat because, frankly, sometimes people are not lovable. And frankly, many times I am not lovable. I don't spend 20-30 unpaid hours a week on people who can never do anything for me because I love them so much. I do it because I love God so much. And he loves them. And he has asked me to and I cannot do enough for him.

The only basis upon which we can serve selflessly without burnout is when we are passionately in love with God and want to bring him pleasure. Period.

That is why Scripture urges us to "keep our eyes on Jesus, the author of our faith."
(Heb. 12:2) When we rely on our efforts to right the world's wrongs, our efforts are a house of cards. 

Human love can only go so far. The world is crying for more than that.

  • We may fill the beggar's stomach, but what about his heart? Does he have purpose in life? Meaning for his existence? 
  • The cripple may be warm, but is his heart still cold? 
  • Maybe we prolonged someone's earthly life, but did we offer them eternal life?
When Jesus fed, healed, consoled, and raised the dead, it was always for a greater purpose. Every act of benevolence was a building block upon which he stood to proclaim the greater message:

God wants a relationship with you.
'm here to tell you how to find it.

Unless we focus on the worthiness of God and serve the people he loves because we love him, our attempts tend to take on a militant, self-righteous tinge.

Trying to love the world in our own strength, 
without offering that greater message, 
is not love at all.


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