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Friday, August 22, 2014

The Love Show!


Let me start today’s blog with a simple question.  When you go to the movies what do you expect?  Most of us expect to see a movie!  The same phenomenon happens when we turn on our flat screen TV’s!  We are expecting to view something, not just hear the audio part of the show.  The iconic picture of families huddling around the big Philco radio in the living room soon became a thing of the past with the popularity and advancements of the new TV medium following World War II.  Today’s modern world of technology has made us to be a very visual world.  Laptops, Tablets and Cell Phones give anyone the availability to instantaneously see and communicate with others the world over!  We want to see it, and we want to see it now!
The Apostle Paul seemed to understand the importance of seeing things and in particular, in seeing the love of God.  In Romans 12:9 he set the stage for his comments concerning “The Love Show.”  He stated, “Your love must be without hypocrisy…”  The Popular Commentary on the New Testament explains that “This brief clause is the title of the entire section.”  Hypocrisy can simply be defined as saying and doing two different things.  Or as I heard it said, it is performing a role in the drama of life, of a person that you are not! 
Albert Barnes commented, “Let love be sincere and unfeigned.  Let it not consist in words or professions only, but let it be manifested in acts of kindness and in deeds of charity.  Genuine benevolence is not what merely professes attachment, but which is evinced by acts of kindness and affection.”  
Last week my wife received many greetings for her birthday.  In fact through the connections of this blog she received birthday blessings from at least six different countries around the globe!  One card was from a close relative that expressed much love and affection for Piper and professed thankfulness for the blessing of their close relationship.  It was a short but sweet note and while we were was tremendously blessed that they wrote, I had to chuckle a bit and shake my head because the endearing words written on the page did not match the individual’s actions when we lived near them.
As Barnes wrote, the profession was not evidenced by like actions.  My personal definition is “empty words.”  In all our years of active ministry I never thought much about this, but once the tables were turned I truly began to appreciate the few who backed up their kind and thoughtful words with actions of love toward us in the physical realm.  Many folks said a lot of nice things and felt free to give all kinds of suggestions, but very few simply asked and followed through with their sincere words of “what can I do to help?”
I heard a minister recently call those acts of kindness “The Love Show.”  He also went on to say that “kindness is the kind of love that you can see.”  It is the show we expect to see in times of need.  Like my example above, the audio part of a movie show is nice, but it doesn’t have much affect without the visual part!
Adam Clarke’s commentary on this section of scripture seemed to give the key to Paul’s teaching.  He said, “Do nothing at any time but what is to the glory of God, and do everything as unto Him; and in everything let your heart be engaged.  Be always in earnest, and let your heart ever accompany your hand.”
One of the local Christian radio stations in our area broadcasts a couple of nationally syndicated Christian talk show segments each afternoon.  Both organizations were formed to assist families in their daily walks of life.  While most of their suggestions are solid and helpful, there have been occasions where, in my mind, they seemed to try and fit daily life into tidy little compartments where most family situations can be handled by following an organized list of dos and don’ts.   Please don’t get me wrong.  Their advice is good, but one thing I have come to see in over 35 years of ministry with children and youth is that everybody and every situation is different and while it is good to have the knowledge of the dos and don’ts, the most important tool we as Christians have is a heart that is in tune to the Holy Spirit.  What works in one situation may cause problems in another.
Paul’s advice as explained by Clarke to make sure that your actions give glory to God and that your heart is engaged will see you successfully through any situation!  This same advice also works when you come into contact with those in need.  He will show you what to say, and more importantly, what to do each time.  Jesus told us that “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  (Matthew 11:30 KJV)  We don’t have to be afraid to put ourselves out there for others because He is with us and will help us from start to finish!
So… don’t just be a radio show in this world, be a life size flat screen TV so that people can see your good works of kindness and grace as you become God’s actor in “The Love Show!”   Have a great weekend.  Stay in tune to His Word, and keep asking yourself… “What am I expecting today?”

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