Love and Mission, Love and Mission, go together like a horse and carriage.
Okay, this is a bad adaptation of the song "Love and Marriage" (But not as bad as the suggestion I read the other day for adapting Olivia Newton John's song, Let's Get Physical, and making it, Let's Get Missional, Missional."
But love and mission do go together. Note this passage from Paul in 2 Corinthains 5:4f.
4For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
16So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.
If we have not been convicted by Christ's love for us, we will remain selfish. In order to reach out to others, we must first die to ourselves. And this is tough. It is tough to be selfless in our marriage. We are usually concerned with our needs being met. And we do have certain needs. But the point is, it is hard to be selfless.
And as if it were not enough of a challenge to love others, we apparently struggle to even love one another very well. A study by Lifeway indicates that 58 percent of people who had attended church for at least a year in high school and then dropped out of worship attendance said that they did so because of relationship problems"
- 26% said that they didn't feel connected to people in the church.
- 15% said churches were either unfriendly, unwelcoming, or cliquish.
(Study found in Compelled by Love: The Most Excellent Way to Missional Living by Ed Stetzer and Philip Nation, p. 83.)
Without a conviction of Christ's love for us, we will always struggle to be selfless. And if our own people do not feel love, how well will we love others whom we encounter?
So, what can we do to increase our love for one another and for others, and be compelled by Christ's love so that we can be better ambassadors of Christ?