In our day, we are tempted to measure
ourselves according to our extraordinary achievements.
Perhaps we should instead measure ourselves according to the
thoughts and behaviors of our daily routines… for it is in the mundane and
ordinary that our integrity is truly made evident. Perhaps we should be gauged
by the consistency of our daily practice to our words; perhaps we should weigh our
daily efforts on behalf of others against the attention we give ourselves.
Jean Vanier has said, "We are not called by God to do
extraordinary things, but to do ordinary things with extraordinary love."
The question I’m posing here is this: Are we people of godly
character and mission? In other words, do we place priority upon the integrity
of our inner relationship and calling with God? The reason I ask this is
because if we truly value our relationship with God, then we will be motivated
towards extraordinary love for others. This is our calling… to have within us God’s
heart for this world. When Emmanuel dwells within us, then we are compelled to
dwell with our neighbors.
God informs Samuel that He doesn’t look at us the way that
humans are tempted to look. God doesn’t see a list of extraordinary
achievements and grandeurs. No, He tells Samuel, while mankind looks at those
sorts of outward appearances, God looks at the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7) God
ordains those who have a 2nd commandment motivation that stems from
a 1st commandment reality.
have not love, I am a resounding gong; a clanging cymbal. (1 Corinthians
A gong, or a cymbal, is not a bad instrument. When directed
in songs of praise to God, coupled together with other instruments in a
philharmonic, even a gong can help turn a melody into a symphony.
But on its own, especially when it is trying to show how
great it is, louder and prouder than any other instrument, a gong is really annoying.
On it’s own it lacks harmony.
No, a gong is merely a contribution piece, not the main part
of the show. A Christian who expects to be the greatest centerpiece stands in
actuality as a hindrance to the message of Christ. Without a love that pushes
us to our knees and that elevates the status of our neighbors, even the most eloquent
person, gifted with the tongues of men and angels, is nothing but a dissonant,
ear-piecing clatter to this world.
Love happens when we match our desire for God and others
with the ability to actually love God and others. Love is exercised when we
lift up our neighbors as better than ourselves; when we share in their weakness
and celebrate their strength; when we delight in their joys and enter into
their mourning; when we creatively seek the leading of God’s Spirit in how to
come alongside others in the ordinary occurrences of life; when we as the
Church begin to become the hands and feet of Body of Christ, walking in the
neighborhoods of this world as neighbors. And it is in this process of learning
how to humbly act upon the deep, inner, missional desire that God forms within us
that we learn how to truly love.