Letting Love Be Genuine
So Here is the key verse for us in 2018, Romans 12:9-10. Let’s hear a few different translations to get a greater sense of how it might guide our ministry together.
Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. (New Revised Standard Version).
Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle. (The Message)
Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. (New Living Translation).
Love should be shown without pretending. Hate evil, and hold on to what is good. Love each other like the members of your family. Be the best at showing honor to each other. (Common English Bible)strong>
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. (New International Version).
I don’t think I have ever visited a church that did not describe itself as “warm and friendly”. So the issue is not the words, but what is behind the words. With whom are we warm and friendly? How do we actually demonstrate warmth and friendship? What do these things truly mean to us?
We know that in our contemporary world, everyone “church shops”. Chances are, you are not here because you were baptized in this church as an infant or because your parents or grandparents worshiped here. You are not here because this is a Presbyterian Church. You are not here because this is the closest church to your home. You are here because at some point when you visited churches, this is a place you felt you could belong. Yes, what we believe might be important to you. The way the church is structured and governed might matter. But I am guessing, the most important thing is how we live out our faith together: not what we say, but what we do.
We have begun our year with great ideas and agendas before us. These projects are exciting, and a little intimidating. Let’s not lose focus on the greatest matter of all: letting love be genuine. I truly believe that if we do this, we will not fail. We will flourish. Don’t worry about your ministry, about all the things you hope to accomplish. When your love is sincere, God’s Spirit will bless your work. Really.
I am deeply grateful to every church leader for your commitment to the ministry of Southport Presbyterian Church. You add your personality, your interests, and your convictions to our combined ministry. As our year together progresses, may our faithfulness grow. May we discover that letting our love be genuine brings contentment and joy in our service to Christ and his people.
God bless you! God loves you, and so do I!