Okay, so maybe I can't say a lot about the situation behind the last few posts, but let's just say I'm still climbing out of Achor. I know it only gets better and that. "Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds" (John 12:24). I know there will be life from all this, and I'm beginning to see a glimpse.
I had to reexamine this harvest we're all working so feverishly towards, this hope we want to share -- particularly the love we say we have for people. Do we in ministry really have a love that compels us to lay down our lives? Are we willing to die to our ideas, goals, and passions if we're asked?
Usually what we call love is really just help. Help is easy and heroic. It's quick. Who doesn't want to be a helper? I do. It feels great. It's fulfilling. Of course, love involves helping, but it's more. Our English word "charity" used to mean having compassion for the poor; it was a uniquely Christian word. Now it means what you do for the poor. It's help.
Help does not require death (to self or anything else). Love does. Our commission is not "Go onto all the world and do relief work." (Or "Go record New Testaments.") It's "make disciples," a call to love long-term.
Discipleship takes time because love takes time (as the song goes). Love is messy. It requires commitment no matter what – through misunderstandings, frustrations, and complications. But its fruit lasts. Maybe I can bandage your wound (help) but you could forget me before it heals. If I'm with you (love), I can be there before you even fall.
[UPDATE] Here's the song mentioned above. YouTube wasn't born when I wrote this (and good thing, 'cause we all still had dial-up). The video and song are from 1999.