“It won’t get you a job. It won’t pay your bills.
It won’t buy you a house in Beverly Hills.
It won’t fix your life in five easy steps.
And it isn’t the law of the land, or the government.
But it’s all you need.”
So begins contemporary Christian singer Matt Maher as he sings his song, “Hold Us Together.” And what he’s singing about it love, Christian love, “agape” love in Greek. “It’s all you need,” he sings.
What do you think about that?
Evidently the Beatles thought so too – or at least they sang it. In 1967 the Beatles were asked to come up with song containing a simple message to be understood by the world. So John Lennon wrote a song and the Beatles sang it: “All You Need is Love.” The Beatles weren’t necessarily Christian. And I don’t know if they meant “agape” when they “love.” And I don’t know if people really believed it. But a lot of people did sing, “All you need is love.” Some people still sing it: “All you need is love.” Might we believe what we sing?
Once God called two brothers to give up all they had and serve God. The older brother heard the call and responded generously. He left a promising career and the family he loved. He left the girl he loved and hoped to marry. He left the land he knew and the town he called home. He went to a distant land where he served the poorest of the poor. In time a persecution arose and he was arrested, falsely accused, tortured and put to death.
And the Lord said to him, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have given me a thousand talents of service. Receive a million million talents of reward. Enter into the joy of your Lord.”
The younger brother also heard the call of God, but his response was less than generous. He ignored the call and married the girl whom he loved. He stayed in his hometown, became successful and became a father and grandfather. Occasionally he would give alms to the poor. After a long life he died.
And the Lord said to him, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have given me ten talents of service. Receive a million million talents of reward. Enter into the joy of your Lord.”
When the older brother heard that his younger brother had received the same reward as he had, he was surprised and he was pleased. And he went to the Lord and said, “Lord, knowing everything that I know now, if I were to live my life again, I would live my life exactly the same way, serving you.”
And when the Lord heard that, he was surprised and he was pleased. (Story by Anthony de Mello, “The Song of the Bird.”)
I first told that story 25 years ago as a seminary student in a chapel service at Union Theological Seminary. And I knew that if I told that story I might get some questions and “push back.” And indeed I did. A day after I preached a sermon with that story I was washing my car when a couple of seminary students came by. We talked for a few minutes and then one said, “We’ve been talking about that story you told. And you know, it’s a bit troubling. If everyone goes to heaven, why go into ministry?” We talked for awhile. I knew deep in my bones that that story was right, but I just didn’t have a good answer to their question. Or I should say a good answer that they might hear. And for 25 years I’ve thought about that.
Recently the answer came. Why go into ministry? Why follow Jesus? Why be a Christian? Why shared about Christian faith? Not because of fear or guilt or shame. The answer is: love.
“For God so loved the world ...” John 3:16
“God is love.” 1 John 4:8
“Love the Lord your God ...” Deut. 6:5, Mark 12:31
“Love your neighbor as yourself ...” Lev. 19:18, Mark 12:31
“Love one another as I have loved you ... and by this everyone will know you are my disciples.” John 13:34-35
“Love never ends.” 1 Corinth. 13:8
“The greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinth. 13:13
Perhaps in an age of fear, stress, change and bitter partisanship, followers of Jesus can bear witness to something more: Love.
The Rev. Glenn Hink is pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Sharon.
From the Pulpit
“It won’t get you a job. It won’t pay your bills.
- Religion briefs from Dec. 13, 2013
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- Religion briefs from Dec. 6, 2013
- Briefly from Nov. 22, 2013
Satan’s no caped character; he’s real, so put on armor of God
What would you do if you were Satan and you knew you only had a very short time before Jesus Christ returned to earth? What would you do to seduce men into the spider web that has been thickly-coated with the worst types of sadistic evil ever known to man? What would you do to deceive and to destroy?
- Religion briefs from Nov. 15, 2013
Moses is biblical example for all of us of one who endured
It is one thing for a person to run away when opposition arises in your life, to hide when the danger literally terrifies you, or to reply when the words of another are unkind or untrue; but it is quite another thing to stand still in order to see the Lord work within your life, or to hold your tongue while committing everything to Him. Few of us can live on this level. Moses was one who could.
Women’s ministry growing in new home
A new office is creating new opportunities in Grove City for a ministry to women being freed from prison.
Jesus’s prayer that we all may be one allows many to be used
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‘Christians’ who really aren’t need to know why not
I met a man from Australia and we were discussing Christianity in America vs. Christianity in Australia. He said the biggest difference is that it is unpopular to be a Christian in Australia. If you aren’t a Christian, you don’t go to church. He said in America, everyone thinks they’re a Christian and they go to church.
Just no words? Let God speak in moments of silence
Have you ever been at a loss for words? Nothing! It’s not the end of the world and the birds won’t stop singing because you or l have nothing to say.
New Light marks new home
New Light Missionary Baptist Church, 725 Cedar Ave., invites the public to celebrate its 34th anniversary and the official dedication of its new church edifice this weekend.
Christ to church: Be witness to world, not conformed by it
By any definition, ours is a challenging time for the church of Jesus Christ. That challenge discourages some, and encourages others. Among those of us stimulated by the challenge, it is a time to visit again the double responsibility the church has in relation to the world.
Storms of life will change us, but it’s up to us how
In all likelihood there are few folks reading this that have not seen “The Wizard of Oz” at least once. The movie starts out calmly enough with the usual troubles of a young teenage farm girl in mid-20th century Kansas. Early on, one of the all-time movie understatements is uttered when one of the cast members says something to the affect of: “There is a storm brewing.”
St. Adalbert’s celebrating 100th year
St. Adalbert’s Church, 1035 Fruit Ave., will commemorate its 100th anniversary over two Sundays this month and in October.
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