Week 19 Devotion – “A Labour of Love”
Love is patient… (1 Corinthians 13:4)
Read: 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
When you hear the prelude “Love is patient, love is kind,” your mind may instinctively think about weddings where individuals publicly profess their love for one another. Rarely do we associate this excerpt with platonic, business, and other non-romantic relationships. However, if we allow this standard of love to characterize all our relations, our interactions will carry transformative impacts.
1 Corinthians 13 is an infamous passage known for extensively qualifying God’s love. Despite the different spiritual gifts one could have, Paul emphasizes in the previous chapter that love is the most excellent way to operate (1 Corinthians 12:31). As believers, we are called to emulate this unconditional love towards one another. It is this display of love that will truly distinguish us from the world. Continuing with the theme of evangelism, at its core, the mission of evangelism must be a labour of love. It must compel us to reach the lost as we endeavour to make disciples.
Evangelism must be done in love, that is to say, we need to have Christ’s love for the unsaved. When we have love, we won’t neglect those who are pushed to the margins of society and overlooked. Love is the motivator that would cause us to strike up conversations with people who would want to reject us. Love is what would cause us to relentlessly pursue souls that are seemingly doomed for destruction. Since evangelism is love-centered, evangelism is also God-centered. Rather than preaching hell as a fear tactic, we respond to lifestyles of sin with the hope of the gospel. Because evangelism is not about networking with people to further our professional, academic or relational goals, we must be reminded that the zeal to share the good news stems from reaching people with the love of Jesus.
Moreover, loving others should lead us to be patient with them. We need to understand that conversion may not happen in one conversation. Some may receive the Word at once, while for others, it may take time for the seed to germinate. Nonetheless, we must be committed to developing relationships through evangelism that will prepare us to serve people beyond our initial sharing of the Word. People come from all walks of life with a host of experiences which shape their perceptions of Christianity and God. Even if you can’t directly relate to someone and empathize with them, be patient. Be considerate regarding their experiences and their processes for learning and unlearning what they have so firmly held. Just as God has been patient with us, we should be patient with others as we await their return to Him.
Reflection: Are my efforts to evangelize done in love? Who do I need to be patient with today?
Prayer: Father God, thank You for Your love that found me. Thank You for being patient with me as I came to You. I pray that in my efforts to evangelize I will embody the same love and patience for the unsaved. Even when I fall short, I know that You can work through my weaknesses. I trust You to lead me on this mission. In Jesus name, Amen.
Written by Deborah Nimoh