From the Pastor's Desktop

“Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,‘ and any other commandment are summed up in this word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no wrong to a neighbor, therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”

Romans 13:8-10  ESV

            I’ve spoken often on the definition of love, and I’ll not take that time today other than to point us to 1 John 4:9, but love is an often-mentioned theme throughout Scripture.  David writes frequently in the Psalms of the steadfast love of God; God defines Himself with that term in Exodus 34 with Moses.  Jesus gives us a “new” commandment in John 13:34, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”  Paul wrote a whole chapter on love in 1 Corinthians 13.  You don’t have to turn very many pages to find the word love somewhere in the text.

            Here in Romans 13, Paul writes to the church in Rome, after reminding them to submit to the governing authorities, that they are to “owe no one anything, except to love each other.”  It seems to me that the fact that the word is so often used in Scripture, and that we are reminded again and again to love one another, is because we have such a tendency to forget to do just that.  At least two things are in play in the battle against loving one another; one is our human tendency to selfishness, and the other is the busyness or maybe I could say “business” of our lives in the day in which we live, (a dilemma of our own making).

            I’m not sure all the reasons why this is the case, but as a pastor, I’m very pleased to see a higher degree of this happening in our church right now.  Maybe coming out of much of the dire concerns related to COVID is one of the factors, maybe some of the changes our church is contemplating right now is another factor, but beyond those things, I think the Spirit of God is working in and through us, and the result is that we seem to be having a higher degree or amount of love for one another right now.

            How do I see this?  I see it as we support one another through various things.  I see it in more willingness to forgive and look past our mistakes and offenses against one another.  I see it in lingering conversations after services.  All these things and more are indications of this love being extended through the body of Christ here at Mt. Pleasant.  Maybe you’re seeing it too, or maybe I’m just more observant with regard to this right now for whatever reason. 

            When we are showing love to one another, we are fulfilling the law that God has given us.  When we are putting one another ahead of ourselves, we’ll be less inclined to hurt one another, or wrong one another.  When we are thoughtful toward one another, we’re more likely to think of what the other person is going through instead of just what we are facing in our own lives.

            And so, pastorally, I pray as Paul did for the church in Philippi, “And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all   discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

 

By His Grace Alone,
Pastor Bruce Jacobsen