Words by our Priest-in-Charge:
Love is an action word
Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” John 21:16
For Peter, after betraying his Lord, the affirmation of Jesus meant far more than being forgiven. It amounts to a reinstatement. Jesus asked Peter 3 times whether he loved Him. It was deliberate, I believe, that Jesus wanted to draw Peter’s attention to that love relationship which He so desires to have with him, and therefore, with us as well. Nothing really matters to Jesus but this love relationship. The restoration that Jesus wanted to bring to Peter is to restore Godly priority and perspective into Peter’s life. Only when that priority is set right, other things in life would fall into the right place.
Yet, love is not just a feeling, as we often say. Love is outward looking and focuses on the one whom love is directed. Jesus demonstrated that kind of love which is selfless. It focuses so much on the object of love, which is all of us, that it lost focus on the lover. Love is expressed in a relationship and could only make sense in relationships. If we say that we love God, it only makes sense if we have a personal relationship with Him. We cannot love someone we have no relationship with, i.e. someone we do not care, have no communication with or someone we are not connected to. Likewise, when the Bible says that God loves us (John 3:16), it simply tells us that we have a God who is personally interested in us, focuses His attention on us, and gives to us of Himself. Love, therefore, is an action word. It requires us to express that love in practical outworking. Love must be the motivation for us in serving God – love for God and love for people.
The Church has many opportunities to serve God. If we are not motivated by love, ministry could become a chore, it wears us out and brings no joy. Serving God in Church and ministry must not be used to win God’s love and approval. It is not necessary. We must not serve God because we want to fill a position in the structure of organization. We must serve Him out of love, out of gratitude. Therefore, as Jesus called Peter to express his love for Jesus in serving His flocks, I believe He is saying to us as well. I wish to encourage us as we pray and nominate the new PCC, as we consider our own service to Him and the ministry we are involved, let us serve God because we love Him, and because we love those He loves – His people.