2 Peter 1:5-8 (paraphrase) – “That is why you must bring every bit of energy you have to bear on the task of supplementing your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patience, and patience with godliness, and godliness with “family” (or brotherly) affection, and family affection with love. If you have these things in plenty, you see, they will ensure that you are not wasting your time or bearing no fruit in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
So often we find ourselves caught up, as individuals, but also in the things we do alongside other people, quite busy but not quite accomplishing much at all. Pursuing things like money, success (one or more of the infinite varieties being sold to us), power, achievements, or that “next level” where we’ll be able to relax a bit more…because isn’t being able to relax a bit more the ultimate goal? Even if we cover it up with the “Christian” notion of working really hard and sacrificing now, so that someday we’ll kick back sipping Jesus-ade and playin’ harps while the kids run around throwin’ clouds at each other.
I look forward to more than this. And what I look forward to, the “goal” as it were, is something that offers to transform how I exist in the now. Offers to transform the direction of my family. Offers to transform the direction of how I spend time with those that I love. I don’t always allow it to…yet there it is…offering wildly eternal things.
It was pointed out to me recently that as Paul is speaking of Love (and Faith and Hope) in 1 Corinthians 13, he’s not talking about some sort of golden star seal of approval that “love” gives anything that we’d like to do…making it “worth” something. He’s speaking to a world that knows of goals that have been set by philosophers and religious communities alike, that are incongruous with the eternity initiated by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Reminding them that not everything that smells good will last forever. Even some of the gifts of the Spirit will become a bit superfluous when God finishes what He began. Things like speaking in tongues, prophecy, and special gifts of “knowledge”.
That only things done shaped in the virtues of Faith, Hope, and above all – Love….will stand the test of eternity. They will bear fruit not only in this world, but in the Kingdom that is coming (and is already begun). I will confess, when held up to this light…it is something I need to work on. Which is why I’ve been praying on the verse at the beginning of this post lately…for myself, for my family. In the name of Jesus…