This is Love

Hey Everyone, here is a Hint: Valentine’s Day is this week — Wednesday to be more specific!

Well, now that that PSA is out of the way, let’s get down to business. What does Valentine’s Day have to do with missions? Here are a couple thoughts.

1. Love is the driving force for missions.

Why do we go? Why do we place such an emphasis on missions? 2 Corinthians 5:14, Paul is addressing his ministry to persuade people to trust Christ, even when it makes him look foolish to others. He says, “The love of Christ compels us…” If our mission is compelled by guilt or sympathy or some other emotion, it will be easy to give up.

Now to be clear, we are not saying that our missionary passion is driven by how much we love others. Our love can fickle. Missionary work is not glamorous or painless. Often those who seek to reach are uninterested or unkind. If we only engage in missions because of our emotions, we will quit.

Notice that Paul says it is the Love of Christ that compels us. What does this mean?

First, Christ’s love for the world is the driving force for missions.

Christ came into the world to seek and save sinners. He did not come grudgingly or with dread. In fact, the writer of Hebrews tells us that he faced the cross with joy. Love was the motivating factor of the incarnation. The most famous verse in the Bible, John 3:16 tells us “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son…”

We are compelled to reach the nations because we understand that Christ, out of his love, died for them.

Second, our love for Christ drives us into missions.

One of the best demonstrations of our love for someone is our doing what pleases them. I show my love for my wife when I do things for her or when I do things that she loves. This is even more true for my love of Christ. He loved me when us was unlovely and, his love saved us.

When we appreciate the depth of his love, we are compelled into his mission. We cannot see anyone as beyond hope or unworthy because were driven by our love for Christ.

Third, we do love others and want the best for them.

While our love for others cannot be the primary driving force for missions, it certainly is an important one. As I mentioned above, it is a mistake to anchor our missionary drive and passion in our feelings for others. However, we do love others and we know that the message we proclaim results in their blessing.

The gospel is good news for a broken world. We go to the nations because our love for fellow humans compels us.

The gospel is good news for a broken world. We go to the nations because our love for fellow humans compels us. Click To Tweet

2. It is possible to be showy but not do anything that matters

On the flip side, one of the most annoying aspects of Valentine’s Day is the way we are drawn into the lie that trinkets substitute for action. Around my house, chocolate is the bomb. Well, at least it is for my wife. She loves chocolate so much that if/when I get chocolate as a gift, she quietly sneaks it and substitutes some other snack in its place. So, when it is Valentine’s Day, I usually end up getting her chocolate (Don’t tell her —  it might mess up this year’s surprise).  However, if all I did was give her a box of chocolates and a romantic card, then ignored her the rest of the year, that would not be love.

We can make a similar mistake with missions —

We can feel deeply about missions.

We can applaud missionaries and their commitment

We can cry at testimonies or sermons

But if we never do anything then we aren’t really acting in love. We need to go. We need to tell. We need to give. We need to pray. We need to shape our lives according to God’s mission because “the love of Christ compels us.”

We need to go. We need to tell. We need to give. We need to pray. We need to shape our lives according to God’s mission because “the love of Christ compels us.” Click To Tweet

Scott Hildreth Administrator
Scott Hildreth is the director of the Lewis A. Drummond Center for Great Commission Studies. He frequently speaks on issues of missions, spiritual formation, missiology, and theology. Scott also produces content on his own blog at www.dshildreth.com.
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