We are never more like our savior than when we serve one another in love. Our lives are not our own, we were bought with a price. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20; 7:22-23) We are to flee the bondage of selfishness and run to love God above all and our neighbor as ourselves. That conviction; that settled theology; that Spirit must be in us before we can live it out. We must know before we go. We must think before we serve. There is a zeal without knowledge that we must avoid. Why do I say all this?
I went to General Assembly to serve but I wanted to be selfish. I wanted to read, dine out, play golf, listen to great preaching and I did all those things. But I was there to serve. Met a man while golfing. He is a second career church planter planting his second church. I prayed for his wayward children and his ministry. That is service. Dined out with a minister I have known for 18 years. He was a bit discouraged. He wondered if he has done anything for the Lord in all his years of service. I encouraged and prayed for him. I read part of “Expository Exultation,” a good book by John Piper on preaching. I am still trying to be a better preacher. I heard some great preaching that accurately described and diagnosed me and pointed me to the gospel cure. I was served with the gospel so that I might be a better servant.
I went on family vacation to be selfish, but I was there to serve. I wanted to golf, tussle with grandchildren, praise and enjoy my children, and spend quality time with family. I did all those things, plus. I prayed for the family, sang Bible songs to the grandkids, and poured affection on my children - verbally and practically. I was reacquainted with some friends from 30 years ago and talked about the good things that the Lord has done in our generation. I also warned a future preacher, gently, of his pride and his need for the Spirit to guide him through the agony of ministry. I also put a good word in for the postmillennial hope. God was working through me even on vacation. God uses us, sometimes in spite of us.
One large lesson learned in the last few weeks. Life is short and love is awesome. I noticed how much my fellow delegates at General Assembly had aged and then I looked in the mirror. Where have the decades gone? Time is precious and our opportunity to truly live, to truly love, is limited. Take the opportunity. Love is awesome. I am speaking primarily of the love of God in the face of Jesus Christ. It is awesome. And it is the boundless fuel of our love of others. I am close to the meaning of life when I say, go deeply into the knowledge of God, unpack the glory of God in the gospel, and then give yourself away in love at every opportunity. It is the best investment of your time and it makes a dent in eternity.