I have been thinking and praying a lot recently about motivations. What motivates me to preach every Sunday? Or perhaps that should be who motivates me? The Church of Scotland like any institution is full of rules and procedures, and whether we agree with them or not we have them because the human condition demands it. Society is full of rules and laws, etiquette and social norms. Boundaries that are either known for definite or are affectionately known as the unwritten rule. The Church of Scotland even has rules regarding Sunday morning worship and you must report it if your service doesn’t go ahead!
There is a real danger that our life of faith is motivated by an institution and not by God. Not that the institution is important but when we bow to the institution and not God we are in trouble. Sometimes we are so caught up maintaining the institution we lose sight of God.
One church I like in the States has as it’s tag line We love. We make disciples. This morning it dawned on me what that meant. Yesterday in church we spoke about the great commandment in the all age message and used the great commission for call to worship and asked the question by whose authority do we do things?
If you like rules, written or unwritten, here are the only ones I think we need:
Love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength;
love each other,
Everything else will flow from here – whether it is making disciples, setting up missional communities, healing conflict, bringing justice and peace, and so on. If these elements are not flowing from us as individuals and churches then we need to go back to the love equation and reevaluate.
No wonder Jesus called it the Greatest Commandment!
Ask yourself how do you fulfil the greatest commandment? Love for God and his people motivates me to preach again and again and more. Love keeps me rooted in a broken presbytery (it is no secret we have issued). Love is so powerful. Read 1 Corinthians 13 again.
And if that sounds too soppy for you tell God:
We love because God loved us first.
For God so loved the world he sent his one and only Son that whosoever believes on him will not perish but have everlasting life.
Love never ends!
Perhaps we need to ask as individuals and as institutions the question put so beautifully by the black eyed peas – where is the love?
For we forget at our peril the church is meant to be the bride of Christ and is not the ultimate image of love?
God loves you, me and his Church.
Let’s love Him back and change the world…