12–18 October 2014.

1 Thessalonians 3:12.

Today’s reading comes from 1 Thessalonians 3:12: “And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we abound in love for you.”

Love is one of those actions that simultaneously sounds really easy but also incredibly difficult. Compared to something complicated like rebuilding an engine, or curing a disease, love seems pretty easy. Everyday before leaving for work or school, we might casually say to our family members: “See you later. I love you!” Compared to saying: “See you later. I’ll cure cancer for you today!”, well, loving seems a lot easier!

But when we love right, we realize just how hard it really is. Any parent can testify to how much energy and effort it takes to love properly, and the types of sacrifices that that deep love leads us to. For our family and friends, for those special people who share our lives, we are often willing to make these types of sacrifices, to risk loving others that deeply. But here Paul reminds us that active and supportive Christian love has to go even further, not only in the amount of love we show, but in the people we show it to.

Here Paul reminds us that love for one another – for family and friends, for others in the church – is a good thing. But we can’t limit that love only to that tiny circle of people. Paul encourages us to widen our love so that it includes not only our close friends and family but everyone, all people! Is this even possible? Do we have enough love to go around?

One of the great things about love is that it is not a limited commodity. Parents completely love their first child, but when the second child is born that doesn’t mean they can only love both children half as much! Their love increases and they now love both children completely and absolutely. Paul reminds us here that, with God’s help, our love for all people can also increase and “abound”. Our love can also flow out to include everyone. And in this way we are given a special chance to share in and reflect the incredible, universal and abounding love that Jesus has for all people.

Pastor Stephen Lakkis