“As humans, love is the most powerful emotion we feel. And when you feel it, you can't stay still. You have to move. You know why? Because love moves. When it's real, it evokes emotion. When you feel it, you will go to the extreme to show it. When Jesus was on earth, He basically boiled all of life down to a few simple statements about love. God loved. God moved. We should love and when we do, we should move. But move to do what?” – Clay Scroggins
We’ve spent a lot of time talking about what it means to love God and love people, about what it means to give all that we have to give. There’s a song by Tim Hughes called “God of Justice” that we’ve sung a couple of times together in PowerSource. The chorus goes like this:
Jesus, You have called us.
Freely we’ve received, now freely we will give.
We must go,
Live to feed the hungry,
Stand beside the broken,
We must go
Keep us from just singing,
Move us into action,
We must go
My favorite line in that chorus is, “stepping forward, keep us from just singing, move us into action…”. For you and I, this is where we need to be.
All weekend we have been singing about, reading about, hearing about, and talking about all we have to give. The problem is that if all we do is sing, read, listen, and talk about giving all we have to give, and we never do it, all we’ve done is waste a lot of breath, ink, and time. It’s similar to being a doctor and diagnosing a patient with a disease. What would it be like if all that doctor did was talk about how to cure the disease? Maybe he writes a book about it, maybe a couple people read this book and it starts a revolution. Maybe people even sing songs about how to cure this disease. They print stuff about it on their t-shirts and on their backpacks. They even begin talking about it in some schools. But neither the doctor, nor anyone else involved ever actually cures anyone of this disease. It would be a tragedy. It’s very much the same way with us. Jesus is the cure for the disease of sin we are all infected with. He came to be the remedy for those who are dying and lost. For us to not share that cure with others would be just as tragic. Before you read any further, pause for a good minute or two and let that sink in.
In a couple of hours, you’ll hop back on the bus and head home, no doubt pull out the last of the Red Bull stash and make your way back to life as you know it. Now it’s in your hands. The question before you is the same as it has been all weekend. Will you give all you have to give? Will you take the cure to those who so desperately need it?
The Message captures I Peter 4:7-11 as follows... 7-11Everything in the world is about to be wrapped up, so take nothing for granted. Stay wide-awake in prayer. Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything. Be quick to give a meal to the hungry, a bed to the homeless—cheerfully. Be generous with the different things God gave you, passing them around so all get in on it: if words, let it be God's words; if help, let it be God's hearty help. That way, God's bright presence will be evident in everything through Jesus, and he'll get all the credit as the One mighty in everything—encores to the end of time. Oh, yes!
The NLT translates v. 10...God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.
God’s call to give all you have is not an option or a suggestion. It is not a “if you feel like it” or “when you have time” kind of a thing. For a Christ follower, it is commanded. God has equipped each of us with everything we need to love others. He commands us, to use all of those things well. Why? “To serve one another.” Period.
But, before you go, I would encourage you to begin to prepare your hearts for the last stop of the retreat. In our session this morning, you will be challenged by the real life stories of people in your community, the least of these. You will be given opportunities to give all you have to give. Hopefully, these opportunities are a starting point, the beginning of a long journey of giving all you have to give that becomes a permanent part of your life. So may you as you learn to love God and love people, step forward, do more than just sing, and go.