PHF Week 5: Love in All (Thomas a Kempis)
Passage on Love by Thomas a Kempis:
There's nothing sweeter than Love; nothing stronger, higher, broader, happier, fuller better in Heaven and on Earth. That's because Love is born of God, as the Beloved John has written in his First Letter (4:7), and can't rest except in God, who's above all created things.
Some wonderful effects of Love.
He who knows how to love runs and rejoices; he's a free man and has no restraints.
He gives everything and in return receives everything; in a manner of speaking, he may be said to have everything. That's because he rests in the Great One, who has everything and from whom every good fountain flows.
He doesn't look for gifts for himself, but love turns him into the giver of all goods.
Love isn't measured out in small packets; more often than not, it spills over.
Love isn't seen as a load, doesn't have a reputation as a chore; it's more in the area of motivation than in the exercise of strength.
Love doesn't rise out of impossibility; that's because it comes out of possibility and permission.
All things considered, whoever knows how to love has the strength for everything, fills to overflowing, causes every effect. The one who hasn't learned to love merely flops to the floor in a heap.
Reading this passage reminds me of how amazing and wonderful and all-encompassing God's love is. So often, when I hit a dilemma in life, I search for really specific answers to my questions, and yet God's love is usually in some way, shape, or form, the answer.
As I have been writing about Money, patience, humility, and faith, I know time and time again, that God's love is intertwined in all of it. His love is why serving Him is better than Money. His love is why we can have hope in God and patiently wait for His redemption. His love is what allows us to focus on others and not ourselves, for we already are fully secure and fully completely in His love. And His love is why we can have faith in the unseen and in God's power, for in truth, our faith is in the power of His love.
At the time of writing this, I was faced with a difficult dilemma about what to do in my job search. I had been applying to many jobs (at least 10) over the past two to three weeks without hearing anything back besides rejections. I realize that the time hasn't been that long and I haven't applied that aggressively yet. Plus, I could still hear back from many jobs in the next two weeks, as it can take awhile for places to get back to you. But still, I think there was a part of me that was getting discouraged.
I started to feel like indeed I was begging for work at these places. I wanted so desperately for someone to give me a chance. I wasn't struggling with feeling like I wasn't useful or worthy of these positions, but rather I was struggling with feeling disappointed that no one would give me a chance to really shine--to contribute and work for a goal.
In the midst of talking to God about my feelings, He reminded me of how much He loves me. He reminded me that I am here on earth to contribute and work for a goal that is FAR greater than any of the jobs I was applying to. He reminded me that my work and goal here is to love others, and that love is going to leave a mark for all eternity. Meeting with Derek and Clay for discipleship was just one reminder of how God was already working through me to do the most important work of all. And that I did not have to feel unable to 'contribute' because God was using me because God loves me deeply.
In the end, God reminded me that love is even at the center of my job search. I started asking myself what I wanted to get out of a job, and I realize that a lot of Money-things crept into my desires. Things like wanting a comfortable salary and having good benefits so that I didn't have to worry about money came to mind, yet because of God's love, I never need to worry about those things.
So instead of a selfish, loveless motivation for looking for jobs, God turned me onto a new idea and possibility--one that could only exist because I serve a loving God. What if love could motivate my job search? What if my goal in finding a job was about humbly loving others? This could only be a possibility because my hope is in my eternal life--I don't have to focus on the physical Money-things of this world because I have a secure future and an eternal hope that I can patiently wait for. Instead, God provides me the alternative kingdom-life that selflessly, humbly focuses on others. And through faith in God, or seeing and focusing on God's powerful love, I can wholeheartedly pursue love as a job-searching motivation knowing that God will indeed show up in powerful and eternally meaningful ways.
Once realizing this, I started to see that love needed to be my primary motivator (in my job search, but in my life generally too). For me, that looked like finding a job place that I connected with--a place where people seemed to want me to be there, where I would be valued and trusted, because only in a place like this could love truly blossom. Finding a job, then, really is similar to finding a friend or starting a relationship. It's not the activity that you focus on, but the people, the community, the culture. You look for the place where God says, "This place, the people here, this is where I will use you. This is a place where you can love them in a way that only you can love them. This is where I would have you love and this is where I will love them through you."
When I think about looking for a job, I seldom think of it in this way. Even in my short job searching stint, the natural pull was to think of jobs being about what the job will give me, how much it pays, how the boss will treat me, what can I learn, how will this build my future career, etc. But this is how Money understands work. God sees work in a different light. God sees how His love motivates our work. God sees how His love will work through us in a workplace. God sees how His love will powerfully transform the lives of those in our workplace. I may not always see it, and I may not always know it is at work, but God's love is transforming and changing those around me, and finding a job is just another sphere for His love to do His eternally important work.