Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Extravagant and risky love: Reflections on Deuteronomy 6:5 with a poem by Francis Xavier and an observation.

SCRIPTURE: Deuteronomy 6:5 (TM)
Love God, your God, with your whole heart: love him with all that's in you, love him with all you've got!

STORY by Francis Xavier as translated by Edward Caswall:
My God, I love Thee; not because
I hope for heaven thereby,
Nor yet because who love Thee not
Are lost eternally.
Thou, O my Jesus, Thou didst me
Upon the cross embrace;
For me didst bear the nails, and spear,
And manifold disgrace,
And griefs and torments numberless,
And sweat of agony;
Yea, death itself; and all for me
Who was thine enemy.
Then why, O blessed Jesus Christ,
Should I not love Thee well?
Not for the sake of winning heaven,
Nor of escaping hell;
Not from the hope of gaining aught,
Not seeking a reward;
But as Thyself hast loved me,
O ever-loving Lord.
So would I love Thee, dearest Lord,
And in Thy praise will sing;
Solely because Thou art my God,
And my most loving King.

How do we deal with negative people? They are a real challenge aren’t they? These are the individuals who seem to be against anything and everything. Their approach to life is a loud and continuing NO. Now, we should admit, that if we took the time and made the effort to get to really know them we would begin to understand why they are the way they are … but they simply do not make living and ministry joyful. Layers of stress and frustration are simply spread upon one’s soul by their approach to life. And if we are not careful, we will be dragged down by their criticism and negative thinking.

From the perspective of this old preacher the difference between a believer and those negative people – that we all have in our lives – is Jesus. The believer has been touched by his love. The believer has been changed by his love. The believer has been transformed by his love. And those negative people? Well, not so much.

If we love God with all of everything that is in us then we simply transform every situation and everybody within those situations by the transforming love of God. Eventually the negativity of others will be changed … overwhelmed … by God’s love living and working through us.

Okay God we understand this stuff about risky love. We understand and desire to love you with everything that is in us … but, we have (insert name of a negative person) in our path right now and it is getting a little hard. We pray that our love for you will allow your love to flow through us transforming these spiritually threatening situations into something fantastic for the Kingdom.

QUOTE from Max Lucado, And the Angels Were Silent:
The price of practicality is sometimes higher than extravagance. But the rewards of risky love are always greater than its cost.

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