Years ago Youth With A Mission in Kona was sending off an outreach team to some far-off nation of the world. The student-missionaries were surrounded by teachers and seasoned staff praying and waiting to see if perhaps the Holy Spirit had anything He wanted to say on their way to the airport. And sure enough, His word came forth from one of the older saints: “Don’t go! Don’t go unless you love them! Apart from love your message will be barren!”
That powerful memory has returned to me recently, especially since a dear friend has challenged me several times about the importance of being “authorized” to represent Jesus. Although the resurrected One gave us the authority to preach, heal, cast out demons and make disciples, it was all predicated on the foundation of His life: The love of the Father. Anything divorced from that love will remain sterile, barren and meaningless. “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I am only a sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.”
“Though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and knowledge; and though I have the faith to move mountains, but have not love… I am nothing.” Eloquence, miracles, prophecy, wisdom and even faith itself are meaningless apart from love.
Years ago I had a vivid dream that changed me: I was resting my head against Jesus’ chest listening to his heartbeat. But the sound of his heart surprised me; instead of the “thump… thump… thump…” I expected, each cadent throb of His heart spoke “people… people… people…”
God’s Kingdom is a show-and-tell endeavor. The language that opens the souls of broken men and women is love.