God is asking us to focus on the principle of love. This is the only force powerful enough to propel us across the bridges of detachment and simplicity. Only love can draw us to reality in our handling of material things, and only love can prevent us from shipwrecking on the rocks of legalism in this critical area of spiritual discipline.
The Law of Love
When Jesus was challenged to name the greatest commandment and thus sum up the moral teaching of the Old Testament Torah, He quickly answered His accusers, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Matthew 22:37–39, emphasis mine). . . .
I read the sad story of a father in Waco, Texas. His son had been diagnosed as having cancer and needing life-saving treatment. The frantic father sold the family house, car and pickup truck to pay medical bills. When these were gone, a garage sale dispersed of everything else—even their clothes. When there was nothing left to sell, he borrowed all he could. But in the end, the boy died.
How much was that boy’s life worth to the father? It was obviously worth everything and anything. That’s how we love when disaster hits our own lives or the dear ones we love in our own families. . . .
Walkers—Not Just Talkers
I like the force of James’s teaching on this subject in chapter 2, verses 15 and 16: “If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?”
James says God wants walkers, not just talkers. In 1 John 3:16–18, the Bible says, “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth” (emphasis mine).
Caring is sharing. Loving is sharing. Missions is sharing. The whole purpose of the Church in this world can be summed up in that one word: sharing. That is what the agape love of the New Testament is really all about. It is what the Great Commission itself is all about.
But millions of Christians are still in spiritual kindergarten because we have been taught only to acquire and receive rather than practice true love by sharing.
Excerpted from Road to Reality by KP Yohannan. Copyright © 1988, 2011 KP Yohannan. All rights reserved.
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