The more we live, and the more we track down God’s calling, and the more we try to love and serve people, the greater the realization that we are not enough. If you’re anything like me, you like to be good at what you do. You like to have a handle on things and work from a posture of authority or at least complete understanding. I’ve discovered, when we serve God and the Church, we are never working from a place of human authority or full understanding. We always have to be in a position of humility and openness, both to people and the Spirit.
God’s call on our lives will always involve people. Serving them, loving them, providing for them, encouraging them, leading them and teaching them, God’s love language is His people.
People are a tough business though, just ask Jesus. They are finicky, they are deceiving, they are easily swayed by the tides of the day. I believe most people want to love and be loved, but loving people isn’t easy. One husband or one wife or a few kids is hard enough to love selflessly. The the tall order from Jesus to love God, love your neighbor and love your enemies is truly more than we are able to do in our own power. It seems that as we work to love people and serve God we tend to feel further from the goal, not closer to it. Like a constant battle of swimming against the current. It’s draining and can’t be discouraging.
The Word has lots of scripture pointing toward this very struggle of going against the grain of the world, being a lover of people and not just a coexist-er in the struggle.
If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own. However, because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of it, the world hates you. “If the world hates you, understand that it hated me before it hated you. John 15:18-19
This may not seem like an encouraging scripture, but sometimes a heads up of the truth is far better than some sugar coated false hope of loving people being easy. While the world may very well hate, wouldn’t fellow Christians love one another? Not always. Even after accepting the blood of Christ for our salvation, we aren’t perfect, we are still sinful people on our way to sanctification. We have to remember that not all people are the same distance down the path of following Jesus either. Some Christians are barely two feet onto the path, while some have already traveled many miles. The truth is some of the most difficult people a Christian will be called to love and serve is another Christian. The stench of the world on new born believers doesn’t always go away quickly. In fact, often times, we reapply that stench to ourselves. Every time we seek worldly things over God we can reapply the stench. Every time we dip our toes in sin, that stink jumps on us and pushes us away from loving and being lovable.
In fact, you are still not ready, because you are still worldly. For since there is envy and strife among you, are you not worldly and behaving like mere humans? 1 Corinthians 3:2-3
So when we struggle with loving and serving people and feel like we aren’t enough or feel rejected or even hated, should we give up and leave Jesus’ business of loving to a “better Christian”? Absolutely not! We can find peace in knowing the Bible has an abundance to say about it and that Jesus dealt with the same and greater issues. Also, be assured, God will give us to grace and patients to keep loving and serving when our hearts and feelings don’t want to. When we realize, its not about my feelings or comfort, it’s about being an open, clean and ready conduit for God’s love to flow through we can be encouraged. I could mess it up, but God can’t. If we are living in God’s will and purpose there is nothing we can do to stop it from happening.
Stay true, staying connected to God through prayer and reading His Word will prepare us for this process of serving and sharing His love in a rough climate that isn’t always conducive to our calling. We will struggle, we will be rejected, lied to and about, and treated with contempt, but that’s OK, that will put us in good company. Consider it a joy to share in the suffering of Christ.
One thing we can be sure of… if we seek to follow Jesus and serve God fully and faithfully will we face suffering. It’s not unique to us, we won’t be the first ones to suffer and we won’t be the last. Love hard, serve well, and don’t allow the world to stink you up. You are enough with God!