One of the biggest things that stops someone from living a visionary life is the question why. Why do we wait for God and people? Why trust God and people? Why live in community? There is no flaw proof answer that logically answers every why question. The only answer that comes is not one based on any logic or any sense of self actualization. The answer is love. It’s an answer that gives all of our heroes their power. It is the one things that can make us strong and willing to take this hard life and live it. And let’s face it, living out the bigger vision is not easy. Just one look at Jesus, Jeremiah, and Paul shows that this life gets messy, crazy, and dangerous. There is no how to manual of how to do this in your life, but the one thing that is expected of us by Jesus is to love relentlessly.
Mark 10:17-23 shows us how we should sacrifice the things that make us stable and secure if they block us from expressing love. This story of the rich young ruler lets us know that we are not alone in our struggle to do this. It’s easy as humans to take the easy road of luxury because it makes sense to us. Suffering and struggle does make sense. We want houses, retirement, and security. Love,however, is not logical. It is beyond that. It represents a logic far beyond what we can reason. It seeks a deeper security that is grounded in the future coming of God. It takes an imagination and bravery to accept this kind if life.
This kind of living is what Jesus did by coming to earth. In John 1:14, John tells us Jesus was love come down to us in ultimate representation of love. We learn through Jesus that having glory and power should not be our goal. According to God, love should override those things. Jesus gave up the recognition to come to us and convince us that love is a viable path. Jesus even tells us in John 14:23-24 that He expects us to follow His example of love. This is the same guy who died for His teaching and lifestyle. What encourages me was that He was resolute enough to follow His own talk. What makes me want to live like Jesus is that He was vindicated through bodily resurrection for living out the love of God. He was literally raised from the dead. He came back in His body. This is worth following. Forget gaining all you can just to survive longer. Eternal life in a kingdom founded on love is much more promising.
John 21:15-18 shows that Jesus knows that we are prone to fail. We just have a knack for it. When Jesus questions Peter to love Him, He sets up the conversation in a very interesting way by asking if Peter loves Him. The greek usage of love in all three moments is interesting. The first two references use the word agape. This word is usually used to reference God’s love. Its the love that is fully committed in loyalty and will stand so close in faithfulness that the recipient cannot help being overwhelmed. The third one gets tricky to understand. Jesus uses the word philos. This word is used for brotherly love. This is a step back from the norm of what God calls people. Generally it is expected that we would practice agape. Jesus practices understanding. He knows guilt and shame are still bugging Peter. Jesus steps out to Peter because Peter’s guilt was going to keep Him from seeing Jesus’ desire for Him to live out the Vision. What’s amazing is that Jesus reaches out and moves in the direction if Peter to let Him know that he can live in this Love. He has permission and has always had permission.
God meets us where we are in order to push us towards His vision for us. He wants us to love, but He also wants us to see that no matter how much we fail, He believes in us enough to pick us up and send us on the mission again. Peter failed, the Church failed, and we will fail. I hope you find that God is challenging you, but that He is for you. We should continue to love, but we should know that when we fail at it, we can rest in God’s love. And remember, God is still working on you. You will one day get it right and love freely. Keep going. Don’t stop.