40 Days of Community #6: Because it is Practice for Eternity

This new series aligns with the 40 Days of Community program which Clayton Church is pursuing as a church-wide initiative.

The topic for today is that we are compelled to love God’s family because it is practice for eternity. Today’s point to ponder is that “the greatest lesson in life is love.” The key bible verse is from Hebrews 6:11b:

We are anxious that you keep right on loving others as long as life lasts, so that you will get your full reward.

The question to consider is:

How can you practice love more urgently, consistently and expectantly?

The main thought that I take away from today’s devotion is very much related to a famous quote that we want to finish this race (of life) well or strong. To love for a lifetime means that we will finish strong, having spent our whole life learning to love.

In thinking about today’s topic, I want to reverse the logic slightly and consider the same theme from the perspective of whether it is possible to have worked out how to love and then cruise into the sunset, so to speak. Is it possible that once we work out this secret to life, we can then spend the remainder of our lives relaxing and cruising in that attitude of love – a somewhat constant? For people my age group, we are still relatively youthful and have the majority of our years ahead of us. How can we possibly master the art of learning to love quickly and then rest for the next few decades? The answer remains consistent in that learning to love is always going to be a life-long journey and experience. Just when we think we have mastered it, relationships change, new ones form and we grow just that little bit more.

The urgency for learning to love is a reflection of our time here on earth. Since no one knows when they will die and leave this life behind, the urgency is to ensure that we have constantly made our peace with family and friends, ensuring that we have demonstrated love towards them. The urgency tends to be very real for people older in their lives and they are also non-believers since the urgency is to ensure they have the opportunity to know Christ and secure their eternal salvation with Him. From a time consideration, we should not get too caught up in looking towards the future, but remain present during the here and now.

Loving consistently to me means that I should always treat everyone around me in the same way, and not holding double standards, values or expectations. It also suggests to me that consistency requires perseverance so that what we start now in our younger days will remain throughout all the days of our life. If we pursue love passionately and with too great a momentum, it may not be as sustainable compared to a slow burning love which has realistic and practical outflowings.

To love expectantly can be misunderstood to mean that we love and it creates an expectation or sense of entitlement. This is exactly the wrong interpretation I would suggest because true love is selfless and unconditional. We should instead love with the hope of Christ fueling our passion and desire to help our fellow believers.

Often life presents us with opportunities and situations where we have the choice and decision to make – let us always choose love, patience, kindness, gentleness and humility over our pride, suspicions, jealousy, envy or other selfish motivations.