Jesus said, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. John 13:34
It is common for each of us younger or older to desire to use the best of ourselves, our gifts, our passions to contribute to the community, the church, the world around us, and it is good that we do. When we are in the right fit, the right place, the best match with who we are and where we are, it feels congruent. We long for that place, that setting, that work that flows out of who we are. There is nothing like that, and may we each truly find it. I feel that now with where and how I am presently serving. However, if it were only that, if my life was summed up in that alone, in finding my niche in where to serve, it would not be enough. I have discovered something greater, longer lasting, and transformative. It is so simple, and yet so life-changing.
When I reflect upon my call to ministry, and the various places in which I have been called to serve, it all boils down to one necessary thing. I have been called to love. Love. Love heals wounds, “covers up a multitude of sins,” builds bridges, forgives, makes a place for all, accepts each person for who they are as one created in the image of God and deeply loved by God, encourages and strengthens people to stretch and grow to be who they are, and so much more. Love. Love is the one necessary thing. When I look back on my life, I can see that that is what has healed, encouraged, uplifted, empowered, and transformed me. Love. My life would have been lost without it. I thank God for those who really saw me, accepted, and have loved me. I am who I am today because of them and that love.
So as I find myself continuing to use my gifts in ministry, other things have fallen away as greater matters of importance, except for this one thing. I have been called to love.
If all of us as God’s people, did this one thing, our differences would no longer be what separates us, because love unites us even in our diversity.We would no longer judge others we think as less than, or sinful, or holding a wrong theology or perspective. Love unites and heals us. Love is what lasts and makes a difference.
Paul talks about that in I Corinthians 13. Even if we use and offer the best of who we are, it falls short, if we do not love. We are called to love. I hope it will be said about me after I am gone, that I was someone who loved, just as my Lord has loved me.