Labour of Love 1 Thes. 1:3 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
We hear an awful lot of talk about love these days but we don’t see so much of it. Talk is cheap. If you want the people you love to know that you love them then you need to start doing something about it. You demonstrate real love by labour, not by talk. And if you don’t feel like doing something nice for them then you must reevaluate what you call love. Evidently, your definition doesn’t amount to much.
When you love someone you:
Meet their needs – 1 Jn 3:17-18. John tells us to love in deed and in truth rather than in word and tongue. John questions whether the love of God even dwells in a fellow who can see his brother in need and can shut up his bowels of compassion from him. If you really love him you will help. Consider how parents are toward their children. There is nothing that they wouldn’t do for them because they love them so much. They help them sometimes even to a fault. So, with true love for the brethren you should meet their needs like family.
Sacrifice for them – 2 Cor 8:8. When you read the context of this verse, you see that the Macedonians sacrificed a great deal to give to the poor saints. And Jesus sacrificed everything to give us eternal life. This kind of love is the kind of love that comes from being a true Christian. I don’t mean for you to doubt your salvation if you are stingy with your money and uncharitable toward the Lord. I just mean for you to either quit telling folks how much you love them or get with the program and start proving your love; one way or the other.
Never fail them – 1 Cor 13:8. When you read the context of this verse you find that true Christian love has so many wonderful characteristics. If you and everyone else who calls himself a Christian had it there would be no more church splits. Lawsuits between believers, divorces and broken friendships wouldn’t be a problem. But the truth is that most of what people call “love” they learned from the world or from their unreliable emotions. They didn’t get it from God. Charity that comes from God is called the “bond of perfectness” in Col 3:14.
Travail for them – Gal 4:19. It can be hard to love someone when they get away from God or find themselves in doctrinal error or when they get tripped up by sin or the devil. That’s why loving them through their fall is called the labour of love. It can be as painful as giving birth to a child. A fallen saint needs someone who won’t write them off while they are struggling to get back on track. Like an uncle said once, “When they are deep in trouble with sin, there is very little you can do for them. So, we wait until they fall and then we are there to catch them”.
It is important not to chase them down. Consider that the prodigal son’s father never went after him. But when they “hit bottom” we need to be there for them. Make sure they have hit and that they aren’t just playing possum. Otherwise you’ll just become an enabler. While you wait for them to start getting back on track, your love for them will be manifested by your fervent prayers for them.
Conclusion: There is no doubt that you want this kind of love and no doubt that the Lord is willing to give it to you. But you have to be willing to labour. Without that, what’s the use of giving you this love?