Towards the end of summer I was talking after church with a mom. As Christa’s child was running around full of energy, we were talking about COVID and parenting through it. She brought something up to me that blew my mind, something so profound and yet simple. She said, “we are really going to have to work harder to teach our kids to share. Our kids are getting individual toys and are now being told not to share. Isn’t that the biggest lesson we need to teach our kids early on?”
Such a simple comment, but it has stuck with me. What are we doing as a society out of “necessity” that we are going to have to train ourselves to stop doing? Maybe not to the extreme of those that lived through the depression hiding money all over their house, but maybe so.
Check this: “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.” 1 Cor. 13:11.
This verse often comes to mind as I watch ‘reality’ TV, catch a news article, scroll social or simply witness people in everyday life. Basically, it’s time to grow up. It’s a childish way of thinking to be so self-centered and to not think about others. Self-centeredness has a way of breaking down society and sadly our churches. Self-centeredness drives consumerism. People work hard at keeping us as their consumer because they know when our ‘needs’ are not being met we become someone else's consumer!
1 Corinthians 13 addresses the issue of love with a group of people struggling with the concept. What has their lack of love led to? Disunity. What drove them to a place of disunity? Would it not be the opposite of love? If love drives unity, the opposite of love would drive disunity. What is the childish mindset that needs to be given up and let go of? Self-centeredness.
Naturally, the assumption would be hate. However, I agree with Pastor Joe Faraldi who argues that the opposite of love is self-centeredness. God’s love is others focused, it is selfless and sacrificial. My self-centeredness drives my hate. Do we need to teach kids to stop hating others? Not typically. Do we need to train kids to share? Most always.
So what do we do? Galatians 6:10 says, “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”
This verse gives me three simple actions: pray, look and do as I apply it to everyday life.
I need to pray for God to reveal opportunities to me. My self-centered eyes don’t naturally see the opportunity to selflessly love others. Or I’ll love when it’s easy, but I won’t see beyond the perceived self-imposed hardship. I need God’s help seeing an opportunity I can selflessly step into. So pray.
If you have a heart to obey and honor God, I think He will meet you in that place. So after you pray, look. Look on your social and you will soon find opportunity. Go to work, and in the conversation that you can just sense is going to go to that awkward place, ask more questions. Instead of, “It’s all going to work out,” maybe you embrace a longer, harder conversation and ask, “How can I help you through this?” Maybe it’s a Doordash gift card, maybe it’s time spent talking, maybe it’s advice, maybe it’s... well maybe it’s simply something God wants you to step in to.
Lastly, and this is the difference maker- do. You can pray, you can look (and see) but will you do? James talks about this in James 1:19-25. There is a time to act. There is a time to give up going out to ice cream for a week so you can help a family. There is a time to not watch football on Sunday so you can rake leaves for the people next door. There is a time to actually do good. Intentions that don’t lead to actions is simply delusion.
When I am being selfish, and I am often, I’m being childish. In my childish ways I struggle to love people. What happens when my childish, unloving ways impact my church? Disunity. What happens when my childish, unloving ways impact my community? I grow the divide that is alive and well.
As you pray for one; pray, act and do.
We love selflessly because He first selflessly loved ME!
Pastor Jason Coache
Lead Pastor of Wellspring Church