What It Really Means To Love

Hello beautiful people!

I have been on a serious vintage Kirk Franklin kick lately…I mean completely bypassing his newer albums for the oldies but goodies. I’m talking about way on back to God’s Property! (GP, y’all, C’MON!) The CD that I have been bumpin’ nonstop since last week is this one:

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This CD has some gems that I still remember: Stomp, My Life Is In Your Hands, and The Storm Is Over Now, but my current favorite is Love.

“Love/a word that comes and goes/but few people really know/what it means to really/love somebody/ohh love/though the tears may fade away/I’m so glad your love will stay/Because I love you/and you show me/Jesus/What it really means to love”

This song has me spending a lot of time thinking about how the word “love” is thrown around like money at the mall. People use it to  denote something that they like even slightly, to show sentiment to people that they wouldn’t honestly miss, and to cover unimportant things like shoes and shows. What this means, though, is that a lot of times, we are moving through this world with heart muscles that aren’t being used to their full potential.

My thoughts on this subject are twofold, but before I get into them, it bears repeating that the prototype for love IS God. I know that there are many who would beg to differ, but I stand firm in the belief that loving/knowing God (and moreover grasping His love for me)has made me more able to love others in every aspect of my life, and more able to see love for what it is. I am a better daughter, a better sister, a better friend and a better teacher because I know God…and in my mind, it has everything to do with intent.

I have a question for you, darling. Take a good, hard look at yourself, and ask yourself which of these three categories you fall in: are you nice, are you generous, or do you love sacrificially? This isn’t designed to make people feel bad, but if we are in the world claiming to love and be loved by an enormously good God, and we are made in b’tzelem Elohim (made in the image of God), then we are challenged to live in a way that extends beyond our comfort zone. So which are you? Do you love and do for others only to the very point where it is convenient? Do you go further and lavish others? Or are you willing to love on people to the point where you yourself feel stretched?

I asked my Facebook friends for a good example to further demonstrate these different levels of love, and my good friend Brandi came up with this:

Nice is the coworker that is going to lunch that says “hey, I’m headed to _____. Would you like something?” The gesture was sweet, because they didn’t have to, but trust and believe that if you mentioned being hungry and they weren’t going anywhere, you would’ve gotten no response.

Generous is the coworker that takes it a step further. They are the coworker that goes out to lunch and brings you back something without asking and without waiting on payment. You may offer to pay them back, and they may or may not rebuff the offer, but the gesture of them grabbing something that they know you’d like sticks with you.

Then we have Sacrificial Love. I know that I am not the only person that, despite the best laid plans, has come up short on money at some point. Your “big deals”–rent, car note–are taken care of, but you are scraping bottom, babysitting cups of yogurt and cans of tuna fish. Baby, you are on the struggle bus!

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You found 4 dollars between the car seats and realize that that is just enough to drive on over to McDonalds and scrabble together something that looks like lunch. You get back, ready to tear into your sandwich and fries or McPick Two or whatever they are marketing nowadays and realize that your coworker one cubicle over has even less than you do.They are sitting at their desk making a meal out of Altoids and drinking water. Even though you don’t have anymore money, and even though you were really looking forward to that food, something in you just KNOWS (only you can describe what that knowing feeling is) and you hand over that meal to the person who needs it more than you do.

What is the prototype for this kind of love, you may ask? As with everything I say here, the original model comes straight from His word. Two scriptures:

John 15:13 English Standard Version (ESV)

13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.

Heart question: Just how much are you willing to lay down for someone that YOU love? Jesus was willing to give it all, sacrificially. Knowing that He was setting himself up for some serious heartbreak and pain, He still died.

Romans 12:10 English Standard Version (ESV)

10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.

Heart question: How are you seeking to outdo in showing honor? Are you doing just enough, or is the way you love stretching the world’s boundaries of what it means to go “all in”.

Looking at Kirk Franklin’s song, the methodology is clear: Few people have the knowledge or inclination to truly, sacrificially love, but luckily there is always an example to show us how.

Friends, I charge you to look at the way you act. The words that come out of your mouth. The gestures you show towards friends and moreover towards those that you have no logical reason to extend yourself for. Let’s show the world what it really and truly means to love.

Be blessed,

StephTheScribe

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