Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Lessons From Meatloaf

The singer, not the food. I know what you all are thinking. "Fred's really lost his mind!" Now that may be true, but bear with me.

In the song, "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad," there is a line that says, "I want you, I need you, but there ain't no way I'm ever gonna love you." I wonder if this might be descriptive of many in the church in the 21st century.

One thing I do believe is true is that many in the American evangelical church have a hard time being in community with other believers. I'm not talking about gathering in a worship setting once a week, although that is a vital part of community. I'm talking about spending time with other believers, gathering in homes and other places and digging beneath the surface to build up and challenge each other in following Jesus. That is community, and it can be messy at times.

I think many are saying, "I want you, I need you, but there ain't no way I'm ever gonna love you." In other words, they crave community, being known and loved for who they are. They want to be loved and accepted. They recognize their need for community. But.

But, when it comes down to the hard stuff, the hard work of loving as Jesus loves us, the messiness of sacrificially loving others with all their warts and blemishes, that's a different story. Then it becomes, "ain't no way!" Some hang out on the periphery, never quite throwing their lot in fully. Others find a church that only asks that they show up once a week and put their money in the offering plate.

Although we do want and need to be part of a fellowship that accepts and loves us, and that challenges us, it is not really about our wants and needs. It is about obeying what our King told us to do, to love one another and to lay down our lives for each other. That is how the world will know we belong to Jesus, not by how we vote or what position we take on social issues. The first Christians, with all their flaws, learned to live with and love folks from all kinds of backgrounds and with all sorts of issues. Even though they were far from perfect, they were known throughout the world for their love for each other and for those outside. And, they turned the world upside down.

May God help us to say, "I want you, I need you, and I will love you no matter what it takes."


KC Bob said...

So true Fred. I sometimes wonder if "free love" is really love at all. Love devoid of sacrifice seems pretty empty.

Fred Shope said...

Bob, you are absolutely right!

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