Scripture Reading — Colossians 1:1-8
We always thank God ... because ... of the love you have for all the saints ... Colossians 1:3-4 —
Frederick Robertson, a young nineteenth-century preacher, defined love in two phrases: the desire to give, and the desire to bless.
Love desires to give. Robertson says that when you examine that mysterious thing called love, you will find this yearning to give. It may be as simple as giving money, or some of your time, or a word of encouragement. In marriage, it involves giving your whole self. Giving can take the form of praise: "It is so good that you exist, that you are in my life."
God expressed his love to us not only by giving us life and this astonishing universe but also by giving his Son.
Love not only yearns to give; it also wants to bless. We give in order to bless. This separates the giving that is done for selfish reasons. There is a giving, for example, that seeks to put others in our debt. Love gives not to manipulate but to bless the other.
God gave his Son in order to bless us with eternal life. The desire to bless includes seeking what's best for another. So giving is not always a simple matter, as any parent knows. At times, love struggles mightily to find the best way to give in order to bless, to help another person become more fully alive to God.
As members of the church, we seek to give whatever gifts we have in order to bless others.
Dear God, as you love us, may we love one another. Help us to follow your example by desiring to give in order to bless. Help us to build one another up for your sake. Amen.