“and may the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another, and for all men, just as we also do for you.”—I Thessalonians 3:12
Servants of Excellence
It was Paul who gave us I Corinthians 13, which many refer to as “The Love Chapter.” Throughout his writings we see so many times where he implores, exhorts and encourages fellow believers to love each other. If I didn’t know better, I’d think love is a big deal!
Jesus told us that the world would know we are Christians not by our ability to quote Bible verses, not by our piousness, and not even because of the “bad” things we avoid doing. Instead, Jesus told us the best way to convince others of our faith was by loving each other.
And now here is Paul, talking to the Thessalonians like a broken record about this “love” thing. Here’s a thought—maybe loving each other was difficult for those in the early days of Christianity, and it’s still a challenge today.
But love must be incredibly important to our faith.
Paul’s desire is that “the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another, and for all men, just as we also do for you . . . .” But why? Why is this so vital? One possibility shows up in the next sentence, where Paul says, “so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints.”
Paraphrasing, it looks like love brings incredible joy to God. If we have love, we have the kind of heart God adores. In truth, if we choose to love in every situation, we’re blameless before God.
Is love easy? No. We face conflict all the time, challenging our ability to love. We must deal with people who are frustrating and exasperating. To love these people with joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control is . . . tough!
This challenge must be why Paul uses these words to the Thessalonians to pray for them, asking the Lord to intervene and cause love to increase and abound as they try to get along with each other.
In our offices, we carry the same challenge. We’ve got great co-workers, but sometimes . . . things get a bit difficult. Maybe we don’t see a situation the same way as someone else might. Or perhaps there was a misunderstanding. Love becomes elusive in these moments.
As a reminder, let’s keep this verse in front of us. We might even pray it together from time to time. Because wouldn’t it be great if the Lord caused us to increase and abound in love for one another? If we consistently invited Him to increase and abound our love, we could go new places as a ministry. And like Jesus said, the world will take notice—and that’s a great thing to see.
by Kirk Walden, Advancement Specialist
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