novice heart

May 10, 2010

I’m working on a sermon.

I find this particular task one of the most difficult about being a minister, especially if I get a few weeks’ notice. God works every part of the sermon into my life in the days before. It’s easy to talk about being a Christian; it’s a lot harder to live it.

What will I preach this Sunday? What will this particular congregation (a church I’ve never attended and doesn’t have a website) need to hear?

Preach Love. Love is not grand ideas: die for your faith, sell everything you have, never take a nap. Yet, it is all of these things.

I just restumbled over I Corinthians 13:3-5: “And if I donate all my goods to feed the poor, and if I give my body to be burned, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient; love is kind. Love does not envy; is not boastful; is not conceited; does not act improperly; is not selfish; is not provoked; does not keep a record of wrongs. . . ”

I’ll stop there because there is much more. What is frustrating about this passage is that there is no specific plan for love. Paul starts with specifics: 1) take it all to the thrift store and 2) die, but then tells us this isn’t the way. What does it look like to be patient? To not be selfish? There are 1,000 ways to do these things, and we are given hundreds of opportunities daily.

What’s challenging me is that I’m completing this HUGE task of being a missionary. I am selling almost everything I own. I am going. Yet, nothing amazing will happen in Scotland if that were simply enough. I have to be always aware that how I live daily is so much more important than my career, my calling, and the people around me.

Lord, thanks for the opportunities. Teach me to love.

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