Elders' Blog Pic


Kia ora. Six letters and only 2 are consonants, but these letters mean much to New Zealanders. For some it is more of that Maori stuff, for others it is their fabric of being and for some it resonates of being home. I was struck by Jay Matenga’s message last Sunday that mission is love. It is not a programme, not even a commission, but an expression.

Martin Luther King Jr in his Letters from a Birmingham Jail wrote, ‘Shallow understanding from people of goodwill is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will.’

When we ‘love’ others because we are motivated by a sense of goodwill, or because of what makes us feel good this is frustrating for the person who receives it. Love has to come from a position of purity and unselfishness. I had opportunity to listen to a webinar from a well known New Zealand investor, who said that ‘selflessness is better rewarded over the long term than selfishness’. He was talking about working in a business and working together as a team. I thought this was a good line until he made some disparaging remarks about a group in our society which demonstrated that selflessness had certain limits.

You see, it is incredibly easy to love others who are like us. But love expressed to those who are unlovely, those who we think are below us (whatever that means or how you calculate that) that can be incredibly hard. That is possibly why it is called Love. Like Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13:3, ‘If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.’ If my expression is born out of a transaction and it is to show how good I am – without love I gain zero. If my expression is born out of a transaction to gain souls for God, but I have a shallow understanding of the person – without love I gain zero. Love must be the motivator.

As John said in John 15:13, ‘Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends’. Which is immediately after verse 12, ‘My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.’

How are we doing on that score? Do we love as Christ loved? Do we have favourites that we love because they agree with me or are we like Christ prepared to in love, lay down our lives? We may not have to die literally, but we may have to set aside our selfishness. Church can be an odd place sometimes – we all talk about the love of Christ, but sometimes we don’t express it either very well or at all. We head to our own corner of collective colleagues with everyone who thinks like us, and well those others (the unlovely ones) we talk about and perhaps make fun of – these people who Christ died for, our brothers and sisters and at that moment Church loses it capital C and becomes a club with politics and pettiness. As we continue to have a shallow understanding of others.

The call of Christ and the example of Christ on the cross is the ultimate expression of love – laying down His life, and simply we are called to love each other as Christ loved us. Let’s consider how we can foster love? How can we build each other up? With the express purpose that the love that is shown will demonstrate to the world around us that we are not superficial and shallow but we love with a love that is deep and wide and embraces everyone.

Love – such a small word with 2 consonants, yet a constant call – if only we would listen and selflessly express it to everyone we are in contact with.

Mā te Atua manaaki | God bless,

14 May 2020

Previous Blogs

The News... : Warren, 1st July 2020
Shhh - Listen : Warren, 19th June 2020
Relief? : Warren, 11th June 2020
On the Cusp : Warren, 4th June 2020
In the Beginning... : Warren, 28th May 2020
Seasons : Warren, 21st May 2020
Aroha|Love : Warren, 14th May 2020
How is your mind? : Warren, 7th May 2020
On the Level : Warren, 1st May 2020
Signs : Warren, 24th April 2020
Whakaaria Mai : Warren, 15th April 2020
Essential Worker or Not? : Warren, 8th April 2020
Rumours : Warren, 1st April March 2020
What Would Jesus Do? : Warren, 25 March 2020