Some time ago, I went through a very difficult audit. It was designed to see if our recruiting efforts matched the demographics of our community. If we were found lacking in one area or another, we spent significant amounts of time, money and effort on training programs and targeted marketing in order to better reach those demographics.
When the next audit came around, we were ready to show the various programs we created for the community. We had created training programs to help people with job interviews, partnered with the local college to provide industrial courses for free, and provided transportation reimbursement programs. But, when the auditor came around again, she didn’t ask to see our programs. She only asked for our demographics, then quickly cited us for the lack of upward movement in certain categories.
But look at all we’ve done to reach as varied a demographic as possible! I remember my co-worker emphatically stating, “We’ve done everything possible to try and increase the number of applicants in our community. We were even recognized by the Chamber for our programs and their contributions to our community.”
But the response from the auditor was clear, “It doesn’t matter how diverse your programs are. If they did not produce the desired results, I’m afraid they cannot be considered successful. My job is to ascertain whether your numbers changed from year to year, not what you’ve done to improve them.”
Training programs and bible studies. Transportation programs and prayer groups. Great programs, in theory, but are they missing the mark in our lives on achieving the true result?
I have been thinking, rather heavily on 1 Corinthians 13:1-3. It speaks to me. Sometimes shrewdly. It convicts me and twists my soul. Please read this carefully with me:
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned,[a] but have not love, it profits me nothing.
Now, I’m not saying I understand all the mysteries or have all the knowledge, but I do profess to loving God’s word and being intentional about keeping them in my heart. But, though my intentions, prayers, bible study and desire to please the Lord fill my heart, I have to ask myself if love is at the center of all of that.
Perhaps I’m so intentional about the process, that I miss the result that God has in store for me.
Without love, my faith may be misplaced.
Without love, my prayers may only brush the surface.
Without love, my study produces mainly data.
Without love, my praise might be rendered less powerful.
God asks us for this love because it is what HE gave us in OUR greatest need:
When our foot was slipping, it was His Unfailing love that supported us (Psalm 94:19)
While we are suffering, God’s love is poured into our hearts (Romans 5:2-5)
While we were sinners, it was Jesus’ great love for us that he died to save us (Romans 5:8).
It is in our display of love, a true rendering from the heart and soul, that makes God rejoice over us with his gladness and rejoice over us with loud singing. (Zephaniah 3:17)
Let our focus be love.
His example of love is what we strive for. If our routines and practices do not lead to that, perhaps it’s time to shake those routines up a bit and focus on how God wants us to reveal the gift of love in our lives.
Pray with me:
God, there is no limit to what your love can do. For those of us who stubbornly hold on to our loneliness rather than take the chance on love, be merciful in your lessons to the broken. Search our hearts and reveal to us the hidden scars that prevent love from forming. And then in your greatness, Lord, heal those wounds and redeem us in your light from the deceiving comfort of the shadows. We love you, Lord and seek you first before anything. Walk with us today and let our healing bring you glory in the love we will learn to share. Amen.
Kass Fogle is a Contemporary Christian Author, Speaker and Blogger who lives with her husband and two teenaged children in South-Central Illinois. She is working on her first novel, Ruth's Garden and when she is not working the day job you can find her at the local coffee house writing, at home baking, hanging out with family or causing trouble with her tight group of girlfriends. Kass is also a raging Football Mom.
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