“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God, and anyone who loves is born of God, and knows God, for God is love.” (1 John 4:7-8)
We’ve made it to Bamboula Beach, in Torbec, Haiti – our center of operations for the next week on our Mission trip. It’s hot and humid here. We expected that, but I don’t think any of us were really prepared for just what kind of toll this heat and humidity can take on you. We’ll be drinking lots of fluids, and praying for a break in the heat.
Our study on the Fruit of the Spirit began tonight with a study on Love. Love is a word that gets thrown around pretty casually today. In one breath someone will say, “I love my wife,” and with the very next breath say, “I’d love a cup of coffee.” I’m hoping that our definition of love adapts to our usage.
We tend to love that which benefits us. If a bit of technology (like your phone or tablet – ahem!) makes life, work, play, a little easier – then we tend to treat those things with special attention, spend a little more time with them than we ought, and give them a central place in my life. Being here in Haiti, with no cell coverage, and iffy WIFI access, I’ve noticed how often I turn to my iWhatever whenever I don’t know what else to do. (Maybe this week away will help me enact a tech-fast – unintended blessing). Is this love – not really, but it looks and acts a lot like it.
What we learn of love in Scripture is not a love that exists for selfish gain, but rather a love that gives sacrificially. Jesus said in John 15, “Great love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” Paul wrote in Romans 5:8, “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” 1 John 4:9 teaches, “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent His only Son into the world, that we might live though Him.” This is love, sacrificial, merciful, giving love.
When trust in Christ for our life and our salvation, when we walk in the power of His Spirit, when we come to know the Amazing Love of God, then we will live in and grow in that love. We will love more like He has loved us.
That’s what brings us here to Haiti: Love. God loved us with a love that would bring us life and transform us with hope. Because that love has been borne in us, we serve one another in that love. We sacrifice our time at work and with our families. We do without so that we can afford to be here. We sweat through the night and long for our comfortable beds, cars, etc… But in God’s amazing love, none of it really seems like a sacrifice at all. When we consider all that He has given, whatever we give up here seems so small.
I am so honored to be able to serve a congregation, and this particular mission team, who have known the love of God, and as they grow in that love, are dedicated to loving others. I pray that over this next week, we will not only see the love of God in our own lives, but we will be able to pass that love on to those whom we serve.