The Love Chapter in the Bible, 1 Corinthians 13, speaks of self-less love that “does not brag,” “does not seek its own,” “bears all things,” and “endures all things.” This is something I’m still working on. Jennifer Slattery’s post convicted me about loving without an agenda, and I’m pleased to share her thoughts with you here this week.
I often talk about loving without an agenda and serving with the proper attitude. The Bible tells us to do our good deeds–our tithing, our serving, our self-sacrificing–in secret, to the glory of the Father, letting Him reward us in His way and His time. Every time I seek praise from man, I’m loving on an agenda. A tick-for-tack kind of deal, which isn’t love–it’s self-love and it robs the moment of its value.
A few weeks ago, while my husband helped lead an adult Bible study, I watched a large number kids, many of which came from what I’m learning to call “hard places.” Many of these children exhibited rage issues and I felt like I ran from one fire to the next, trying to keep everyone safe while attempting to deal loving and effectively with each child.
Up until eight o’clock, my love for these children was authentic, pure, and self-sacrificing.
But then my husband concluded his Bible study class, smiling and looking refreshed, and yep, I felt the “need” to tell him how hard my night had been. Which in and of itself wouldn’t have been bad, if it weren’t for my motives. What was I looking for? empathy. I wanted my husband to know what my night had been like. I wanted him to know that while he sat in a comfortable chair, conversing with adults, I struggled to catch my breath. I wanted praise. Accolades.
And in that moment, my love began to have an agenda. Like: I did this, so now you must….
Hopefully next Sunday I will love more like Jesus–motivated by pure love, self-sacrificing, seeking not my own.
Love without an agenda is love without any strings attached. Serving, giving, loving, expecting nothing in return. Giving even if no one notices.
Philippians 2:1-8 NIV
1 Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
Christ, Creator God, came to earth as a man, rejected by the men and women He created. He asks me to demonstrate the same kind of self-sacrficing, humble love.
Jennifer Slattery is the marketing manager for Clash of the Titles. She writes for Christ tothe World Ministries, the Christian Pulse, Internet Cafe Devotions, and Samie Sisters and has written for numerous other publications. She also works for Tiffany Colter, the Writing Career Coach, as a professional manuscript evaluator and publicist. You can find out more about her and her writing at her devotional blog, Jennifer Slattery Lives Out Loud. You can find out more about her critique and publicity services atWords That Keep.