When the ground soaks up the falling rain and bears a good crop for the farmer, it has God’s blessing. But if a field bears thorns and thistles, it is useless. The farmer will soon condemn that field and burn it.
Dear friends, even though we are talking this way, we really don’t believe it applies to you. We are confident that you are meant for better things, things that come with salvation. For God is not unjust. He will not forget how hard you have worked for him and how you have shown your love to him by caring for other believers, as you still do. Our great desire is that you will keep on loving others as long as life lasts, in order to make certain that what you hope for will come true. Then you will not become spiritually dull and indifferent. Instead, you will follow the example of those who are going to inherit God’s promises because of their faith and endurance.
Dear God, as I read this passage this morning I started to get the thought that loving others might be close to as important, out of all the things I do, as loving you. Then i immediately thought of Jesus’s two great commandments: love you and love others. And he didn’t have to throw in “love others.” He was only asked what the greatest commandment was. But he is the one who added, “…and the second is like it…” (Matthew 22:26-30)
So if I do all of the right things in terms of worshipping you. If I can pontificate on my theology and wax eloquently about my understanding of your nature. If I only spend my time learning about you, studying you, and burying my head in the Bible and commentaries and have not love, I am nothing. (1 Corinthians 13–my paraphrase)
Father, keep other in the forefront of my mind today. Worshipping you and loving others is not an intellectual exercise. It is whole-life worship and love. So as I interact with family members today, let it be all about loving them. As I write letters to donors, help me to put loving them first in my heart. As I talk to board members and staff, help me to put loving them into my heart. As I spend time with my wife, help me to put loving her first in my heart. And help me to worship you with what I have today because you are my God and worthy of my worship.
I pray all of this through the grace of Jesus,