Love is Everything
Do everything in love. I Corinthians 16:14
I taught kindergarten. That explains a lot doesn’t it? Kindergarten teachers are a special breed. Every other teacher in the building breathes a sigh of relief on the first day of school because they are not teaching kindergarten—but almost every kindergarten teacher chooses to be there. That is love.
Bible verses for kindergarteners had to be simple. “Do everything in love” fit the bill. It was easy to memorize but helping small children understand what that looked like was sometimes an entirely different task. I have found that to be true in the adult world also—myself included.
There are some people that I deeply love, and most of the time I have no problem doing everything in love. The feeling precedes the action and makes it easy. Then there are the others. It reminds me of the series Lost. For the most part there were good people on both sides of that show, but different purposes and perspectives put them at odds with each other—us and the others. The island would have benefitted from a good dose of love! So would some of our businesses, churches, and families. Paul must have seen the same thing because he makes a point of saying, “Do everything in love.”
I understand love as a feeling, but how does love look when there are no warm and fuzzy feelings? How does it take feet, wings, or thoughts? How does doing everything in love happen? I researched love, and when love is viewed as an action, the word goodwill jumped at me. Goodwill? "Goodwill toward men." Sometimes brands/words become commonplace in our world and we forget the history and meaning. The Goodwill thrift stores were started by a Methodist church interested in taking donations from the wealthy to give to the poor (simple story)--to show Goodwill (love).
So, God so loved the world that he gave . . . showed goodwill toward man. So doing everything with love—to bathe all my thoughts and actions in goodwill is a choice. Jesus was pretty clear that thoughts were actions. That is convicting. My very thoughts must be part of doing everything in love (goodwill). Negative thoughts toward others only bring harm to us. Our family had a real life example of that recently.
We had a difficult situation with our neighbor and it spun out of control. The expectations were unreasonable, and try as we might we fell short. In our frustration, all was not done with goodwill in thought or deed and the result was that the stress of the situation completely overwhelmed us. Our mistake was to dwell on the situation and feed each other’s negative thinking. Soon we were all sick. While the kids are always bringing something into the house and sometimes one of us will catch it, this time every adult but my dad (who was not stressed) caught it. It wasn’t just the sickness but the pall over the house that lasted for more than two weeks. We had to decide who was the least ill and able to care for my dad. It just hung on forever!
Can I prove that the stress of the situation was the cause? No, but I know in my heart that when everything is done in love—when our thoughts are filled with love and goodwill toward others, life is better. The effects of bitterness are obvious—this is just another form of negative thoughts. It is simply true that negative thoughts bring negative results. Thus, Paul implores us to live well. “Do everything in love” and reap the blessings!