‘Love… is not rude (does not dishonour others), it is not self-seeking…’ (13:5)
The two ‘anti-love’ characteristics that we have been looking at this week - ‘rudeness’ and ‘self-seeking’ - are about self-service; people who are inconsiderate of others will be rude and self-seeking. The reverse of these two anti-love characteristics is to invest ourselves in others; We are to positively seek the welfare of others in the church and more broadly.
WE ALL SERVE OURSELVES
We are all ‘rude and self-seeking’ in different ways. Our ‘flesh’ - sin that remains in us - wants us to serve ourselves rather than God and others. This is a fight that remains throughout our lives. If we are not actively seeking to crush selfishness, it will grow like a weed in our lives. Our time, talents and treasures will become invested in ourselves and our self-interests. Paul writes of these last days - and we are all susceptible and infected by these traits:
‘But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God…’ (1 Timothy 3:1-4)
HOW CAN WE INVEST IN OTHERS?
Agapé love means to give ourselves for the good of others regardless of their merit and regardless of our feelings. This is quite something! This is a high and difficult appointment that the Holy Spirit will help us with. Let us prayerfully consider how we can invest ourselves through:
Praying for others
Serving in the local church
Using our spiritual gifts
Rejoicing and mourning with people
Listening and seeking to understand
Going the extra mile at work
Peter summarises the way that we should invest in others:
'Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.’ (1 Peter 4:10)