We can express our love for God in many ways. It can be expressed in worship, in our daily disciplines, in our service to others, and in how we treat our neighbors. The love we share with others wells up and out of the love of God within and for us. When we share this love of God with others, they too can come to know that love themselves.
But at times we can “do” things without really loving. Have you ever gone to church on a Sunday morning when you really did not want to? You smile and chat, bow you head and sing along, maybe even nod approvingly during the sermon – but inside you are not present or engaged. Ever been of service because it was expected? You go and help cook and serve the meal at the mission but inside of you there is apathy or maybe the resentment and anger are just below the surface. In these and similar situations, the love of God seems far away. In times like these we are the clanging symbols Paul writes of in today’s passage.
We get to this place a number of ways, but there are two primary ways. First, we forget to be thankful to God. If we are not intentional about making time daily to be thankful to God for our many blessings, it can be easy to forget how much He loves us. Without His love filling us up, we have little true love to offer others. The second way is we forget to love ourselves. Being a constant well of love to others leaves us empty inside. We can be so busy being in ministry to others that we do not allow ourselves the Sabbath we need. In this too we must be intentional. We are at our best loving God and loving others when we have a thankful and rested heart, filled with God’s love for us. Then we can truly offer His love to the world.
Scripture reference: 1 Corinthians 13: 1-3 & 13