Love is the funniest subject to discuss with school-aged children! Their notions of love are built by the culture around them, they will always struggle to understand love without considering winged babies with bows and arrows, or last ditch declarations of love like in the movies. In fact, they can only relate to love in terms of kissing and holding hands!
Unfortunately, love can be more trivial than this, but also so much more deeply complex. For example, I can say I love cheeseburgers while sitting on a date with my wife, having a discussion with her about my motivation and calling to make the world a better place because God so loved me and therefore I must love others…phew! Deep! So let’s pick it apart!
Firstly, I love cheeseburgers. I love all types of food! The children often ask me what my favourite food is and I can’t answer because I want it all. I have even taken to enjoying broccoli recently! Some other things I love are reading, playing PlayStation and West Ham United, but do these loves mean anything? Yes, but on a deep level, not at all. They are temporary, sometimes selfish, often trivial, rarely beneficial. But I love them because I enjoy them!
Secondly, I love my wife, because I chose her (and against all odds, she chose me too!) But I love her more deeply than the movies make out. In my vows to her, I made the promise that I would love her like Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25). If you want to boil that down, even more, it means I’d die for her, even when she’s not at her most lovable!
And that moves me onto my third type of love – the love that changes the world. Because God first loved me, I am now called to go and love others. But it’s deeper than saying “I love you”. Love is a verb, because love is a doing word, and love can only be a doing word when we have enough compassion to see the needs of those around us and act upon those needs to make them right.
A line from a famous worship song written by a big church states “Break my heart for what breaks yours”. It is a plea to God that I (sometimes) think we sing, but in truth, it doesn’t bring us to our knees and it fails to make us weep, while God’s heart is breaking and He weeps over the social disorder in this world that desperately breaks his heart!
I have said this in a blog before, but our calling is where our passions and talents meet what breaks our hearts. I love sport, and my heart breaks for young people in desperate and dire circumstances. I despair for broken homes and fatherlessness. I physically feel my stomach drop when I think of children carrying knives and murdering each other time after time on our streets. That is why I feel called to be at Kick London; but if not for love, would I be bothered?
1 Corinthians 13:3 says “If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.” It challenges my motivation for every single thing I do. I can do kind acts, I can be selfless, I can be helpful and patient with people, but without love as my motivator, all these things are pointless! We must act because of love, to demonstrate love, so that others may experience love, and not only that, we as Christians do this to show God’s love to those who have not yet experienced it.
Godly love is far deeper than how we feel about cheeseburgers, our favourite football team, or our spouse or partner. Godly love is about compassion, seeing the needs of others, understand what breaks God’s heart, and doing something about it, so that those who don’t know God’s love may experience it.
The challenge for us as Christian’s is to be aware of these needs. In Acts 3, Peter responds to a beggar at the temple gates with “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ, walk.” Peter was only able to respond to this need because he was aware of it, stopped, and shared love.
Where will you see the need today? Where will you show love?
Andy Dutton – Senior Sports Coach