Welcome back to love talk series here in Christian Tagalog Blog section of ChristianBlessings. In my previous posts, we have well-discussed about ‘loving your neighbors’, taking key verses from the book of Corinthians, and gospels of Matthew and John. And, I must say (upon completing each post and upon meditating on those verses) that this commandment is really not easy to accomplish. We struggle day after day in denying ourselves, taking out the selfishness in our hearts, and pouring out love to people, even to those who are strangers and enemies to us. Jesus, in all his wisdom and sympathy, knew that it would be difficult for us to visualize how it is like to love our neighbors, and so, he spoke in parables/illustrations and he himself “showed his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).” [You may browse over the previous posts here.]
Today, let us narrow down the subject matter to love for the flock, or love for our brothers and sisters in Christ. We may say that it is a lot easier, but I guess, after reading the passage on it, it is no different from loving people who are not yet in Christ.
To view from Christ’s perspective, here is a passage from John where Jesus shows the illustration of a shepherd’s love for his sheep:
The Parable of the Shepherd (John 10)
11 “I am the good shepherd, who is willing to die for the sheep. 12 When the hired man, who is not a shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees a wolf coming, he leaves the sheep and runs away; so the wolf snatches the sheep and scatters them. 13 The hired man runs away because he is only a hired man and does not care about the sheep. 14-15 I am the good shepherd. As the Father knows me and I know the Father, in the same way I know my sheep and they know me. And I am willing to die for them.
If you say you are a Christian, a follower of Christ, and especially a church leader, can you say the same thing Jesus said about laying his own life for the sheep? This is indeed a hard teaching.
How far can we go in loving the flock? Will we be like the hired man who runs away for his life upon seeing the attacks of the enemies (trials, challenges, temptations)? Will we leave the church in exchange for our own comfort and pleasure? Like Jesus said, it is easy for the hired man to leave the flock because he is only hired–he works in exchange of money. But we work out of love–love for God and love for others. Taking care of the flock is a labor of love. But let us not forget the actual reward God gives us – it is His presence that goes before us; His love that keeps us and will keep us till the end. I think that is the highest pay we could ever have as laborers in His kingdom.
And if we are able to obey his commands, here is what he says in John 15:
10 If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.
11 “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.12 My commandment is this: love one another, just as I love you. 13 The greatest love you can have for your friends is to give your life for them. 14 And you are my friends if you do what I command you.
I know many Christians are fond of singing “Friend of God”, but next time you sing that song, you may want to look back on this realization and ask yourself, “Am I really a friend of God? Am I obeying his commands? Am I loving others to the extent that I am willing to die for them just as Christ did?”
I know it hard to apprehend, even I myself still struggles in this. But to better see the large perspective of dying for others, I guess we must first understand how it is to live for others. I encourage you to read the book of Ecclesiastes.