How easily love seems to get lost in the shuffle of getting to where we want to go! It's easy to get so preoccupied with "doing" that we forget to love.
We've all inadvertently done that at one time or another. We know that the right thing is to treat others with love,1 and we usually try to do so, yet in those moments when we're faced with a need that requires a greater measure of love and unselfishness than usual, it's easy to make choices that squeeze love out of the picture. But the right choice is always the loving choice. It pays to remember the importance of those little acts of love, being kind or courteous or simply taking time for others.
Taking time for love is an investment. You don't "get your money back" the same day, but when it does come back to you, it has multiplied and appreciated in value. Not everything can be measured in immediate, visible results. Sometimes the best and most lasting things take time to get started and time to show their worth. That's the way it is with love.
No matter what your to-do list says each day, imagine that written above your own top priority are God's top two: love God, and love others.2 Getting your first priority done without doing God's two means you really only did third best. Sometimes we forget that all our accomplishments are nothing without love.3
No matter what your to-do list says each day, imagine that written above your own top priority are God's top two: love God, and love others.
If we make an effort to love God, then it will show in our interactions with others. Of course, we're human and make mistakes, we have good days and bad days, and God understands that, but if we want to change the world for the better, we need to make an effort to put love into action. "By this shall all men know that you are My disciples, if you have love one for another."4
How can we show love? One of the beautiful things about love is that it adapts to the need. There's no set formula, so part of loving is finding out what the need is and how to meet it. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
* Try to see others through eyes of love; find and encourage their good qualities.
* Build others up; commend people for doing a good job. Everyone appreciates being appreciated.
* When someone does something that bothers you, or you find yourself becoming critical, try to put yourself in that person's position. What might have caused them to act the way they did? How would you want them to react if your positions were reversed?
* Connect with people. Something as simple and seemingly small as a smile or sympathetic word can be the turning point in a stranger's day and possibly the start of a lasting and meaningful friendship.
* Do little "extras" to lighten the load someone is carrying, and thereby convey understanding and concern.
* Make an effort to get to know your friends and co-workers better. What makes them tick? What matters most to them? Who matters most to them? What do they dream of doing someday? What has been their proudest moment?
Maybe you already try to be loving, but sometimes you feel you don't have any more love to give. Maybe you feel that you don't receive enough love yourself, so therefore don't have much to give. Those feelings are natural. And it's true—our love isn't sufficient. If human love were sufficient, we wouldn't need Jesus so much, and neither would the world.
But when we run out of love, Jesus always has more. His love is wonderfully sufficient, unconditional, unlimited, and without end. The secret to having more love for others is to tap into Jesus' love. Tell Him, "Jesus, I need more of You in my life. I need more of Your love." Then put little and big deeds of love into action, and He will give you more of His love. The more you give, the more Jesus will give you in return. Keep it up, and you will not only become more conscious of His unfailing, ever-present love for you, but you will always have love to share with others. Like the widowed mother whose story is recounted in the Bible, whose little bit of oil and handful of flour, when mixed with faith, kept her and her son and the prophet Elijah alive through three years of famine,5 you will see your love multiplied many times over.
Maria Fontaine and her husband, Peter Amsterdam, head The Family International.