John 15:12–17 (ESV)
I AM the True Vine
is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14You are my friends if you do what I command you.
15No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. 16You did
not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. 17These things I command you, so that you
will love one another.
As I have mentioned it before, a pastor had told me that being in the ministry would be fun if we didn’t have to deal with people.
I didn’t quite get his point until I got into the ministry. As Christians, we often are our own worst enemies by bickering and fighting among ourselves. Sometimes this can be displayed in voter’s meetings at church. Sometimes
it may be with leaders. As a pastor, I can also say that sometimes Christians can be the biggest babies… I guess myself included. Where would the world be if we all worked together and got along, then letting the nonbelievers see us acting
harshly. Why would they want to be part of the church if it is too busy fighting? Luckily, my congregation doesn’t have too much in-fighting. But I hear many stories out there. In today’s reading, Jesus says “This
is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” The word “love” used here is the Greek word “agape”. Agape means to love. Love, affectionate regard, goodwill, benevolence. With reference to God’s
love, it is God’s willful direction toward man. It involves God doing what He knows is best for man and not necessarily what man desires. What if we lived this way… to love one another as Jesus has loved you. Jesus says “You
did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.” Now to make matters worse… or better, Jesus
wants us to love our enemies and to pray for them. Well, I don’t know about you, but I am a work in progress, that still needs a little shaping and molding by the Holy Spirit.
I pray: O Lord, I know I have a love for people, that is why I’m in the ministry. Help me to love them times are rough. Help me to love those who hate me and persecute me. Shape me and mold me according to your
will, and let love prevail to all people. Amen.