By: Gary Sawyer
As we began our discussion regarding “Three things that everyone needs” I mentioned that one of the more formative times of my life was when I was in the Boy Scouts. Also, as a young teenager, another formative experience for me was sitting in my parent’s living room and listening to my older brother and sister’s rock ‘n’ roll albums. I really enjoyed The Beatles and to this day I can sing and know the lyrics to most of The Beatles’ songs. I vividly remember my father often coming in and yelling at me to “turn that mess down!“ So when I got a chance, I played it very loud and would sing along.
One of my favorites was the Beatles Magical Mystery Tour album. A song on the album is “All you need is love”. Well, today the definition of “love” is all over the place. I don’t want to focus on what love is here, but just want to say that love is not a feeling. Here at Fulfilling Endeavors in our Counseling Ministry, we use the following definition for love: Love is the decision to obediently and sacrificially take what God has given and give it back to him – God – and his people.
Everyone must have someone to love to be healthy and happy. So love is a commitment to put the welfare and needs of others ahead of our own. We get love from God who is the source and creator of all good things and who is able to meet all of our needs and all of our wants. We need someone to love because God does not want us to be alone in our lives, so through the Bible, he shows his love for us and seeks a relationship with us. He wants and expects us to seek relationships with others, as well. The ultimate example of this is Christ coming to Earth in the form of a man to be with us, teach us and then ultimately die for our sins on the cross. After his resurrection he even proclaimed that he was going to prepare a place for us so this relationship could continue forever. So everyone needs someone to love!
Without getting too preachy, this is illustrated very well in John 15 : 5 where Jesus says “ I am the vine you are the branches if you remain in me you will bear much fruit, apart from me you can do nothing”. This speaks to the origin and the source of love and also gives us a good example of how we must not only love God, but love other people if we are to live healthy, purposeful lives. The vine cannot abide without the branches and the branches cannot abide without the vine.
Like the vine in Jesus’ words, we do very poorly when we are by ourselves. So everyone must ask the question: who do you love? Yes, I also listened to George Thorogood and the Destroyers growing up. But really, who do you love? Well, we all need to love God because he is our creator and the Bible tells us that he first loved us. Again, God is the source of everything we need and will ever want. Jesus helps us with this in Luke 10:27 where he says love the Lord your God with all of your heart, all of your soul, with all your strength and with all your mind; and love your neighbor as yourself. Well, loving God makes sense because he has our good in mind and will never fail us, even though sometimes we don’t always understand what he’s doing in our lives. Loving our neighbors as ourselves is more difficult. If you’re around people long enough you will quickly find out that they will let you down, hurt your feelings and worse. God uses his people to do his work and even though it is challenging, it is necessary to be a part of a community and hopefully a family as well. Having community is especially important today because more and more people in our society are finding themselves alone. This seems to be especially true as we grow older. People find themselves estranged from family and friends and the results are always terrible. Loneliness is said to be the new smoking and the suicide statistics for people who find themselves alone is unfortunately increasing.
I hope that this has you thinking a little bit about the people that you love. If you find yourself in a season of life where you are alone or don’t have as many people in your life, perhaps this could be a call to change because God wants fellowship with you and he wants you to have fellowship with other people. So who do you love? This is a good and valid question and one that will generate feelings of thankfulness or perhaps feelings of longing. Do you need to make a change in your life to become more intentional about getting out there and establishing some new or renewing some old relationships? God is the source of all good things and will meet us wherever we are. He does not want us to be alone! Now if you’re not familiar with George Thorogood, go google “Who do you love? “and sing-along.
Next time; “Everyone needs something to do”.
Gary Sawyer is a licensed mental health counselor with the Center for marriage and family Enrichment in Lakeland, Florida.