The Call To Love And Obey

When my husband and I were called to serve in the ministry of the Worldwide Church of God eight years ago, I did not accept it wholeheartedly. In my mind and heart I reasoned that I did not get my education and corporate job experiences to become a pastor’s wife. It was not a “job” I looked forward to nor the “ministry” or mission I was sure God had intended for me.

I was wrong. This calling into the ministry was, in fact, the field where God would reveal His personal mission for me. And Mr. Sidney (then WCG’s Regional Director) voiced it out when he said to me: “The only expectation from you as a pastor’s wife is to love God and to love and support your husband. Your ministry will flow out of that love.” Those words have had the greatest impact on me starting out as a reluctant pastor’s wife and have given me unbelievable comfort and assurance that God will work it all out.

God has given us all a mission in this life we need to do regardless of our age, health condition, status in life, preferences, abilities, talents or gifts. Maybe we are not all called to a high-profile or front-end mission like leading the church in worship singing, or speaking to large groups, or writing Christian bestsellers, or being sent out into the mission field, or even holding a high and influential position in a church or organization. But we are called to a universal and Christ-commanded mission. There are no exceptions to this mission and we have no excuses.

It is a mission we cannot say “no” to if we claim to be Christ’s servants and followers. It is a lifetime mission that is the root from which all our other missions spring forth, and it is perhaps, the most difficult mission for all of us to do. It is the mission and call to love and obey.

It was obedience that led Christ to the cross (Philippians 2:8 – Christ “humbled himself and became obedient to death, even death on a cross!”) and it was love that kept him there – love for the Father and love for each one of us. If we claim to be Jesus Christ’s followers, then as chapter 2 of Philippians reminds us, our attitude should be the same as his, nothing less.

Three whole chapters of 1 John (3-5) talk about love, what it really means and what it entails. Many times we are strongly reminded to love our brethren precisely because it is very difficult to do so. It is not in our nature to love the way Christ loves us. That’s why we need to get on our knees every single day and ask God to shed his love abroad in our hearts. And we need to ask God to make us obey him (I John 5:3 – “This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome). And what is his command? To “believe in the name of his son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.” (I John 3:23)

There will always be people who don’t like us and it may make our task in ministry or anywhere else more difficult and challenging. But that’s okay. In the same way, there will always be people we don’t exactly like or want to hang out with based on personality differences, and that’s okay too. But it is not okay for us to not love each other. It is against God’s very nature and command for us and we sin when we don’t love.

I John 4:20 “If anyone says, ‘I love God’, yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.” Can we honestly say that we love our sister beside us, in front of us or behind us? Can we honestly say that we esteem them more highly than ourselves and that their interests are more important than ours (Philippians 2:3-4)?

Those are strong words. If we truly want to please God, then we need to obey him – and we need to love him and those whom he loves. No amount of ministry work, no amount of praise from people and no amount of sacrifice can ever please God if it is not rooted in love and obedience. I can continue convincing myself of all the “I shoulds”: I should read more chapters of my Bible everyday, I should evangelize more people, I should write more articles, I should spend 10 hours everyday “doing ministry”, etc., but if they are not rooted in love and obedience, they are useless to God. (Read or cite examples from 1 Corinthians 13.)

So the next question we need to ask ourselves is this: Is it enough that only God knows? Is it enough that he knows and sees our struggle inside to love and obey him in everything we do? Is it enough that God knows our sacrifice and no one else?

For those of us who are homemakers, maybe our husbands or children will never notice that our house or bathroom is always clean and tidy, or that there is always cooked food on the table, or that there are always clean and pressed clothes to wear, or that our homes are running efficiently. If this is our God-given mission at this time, is it enough that only God knows?

For those of us whose God-given mission is to pray for others constantly as prayer warriors (although we are all commanded to pray), whose knees are scarred from hours of praying and whose hearts bleed for those who suffer – is it enough that only God knows?

For those of us whose names are often forgotten in the mission fields of China, Africa, Vietnam and other parts of the world, is it enough that God knows?

Can we deny ourselves the recognition and praise from others? Is it enough that God knows and that he has promised to reward us?

Let us not be discouraged. Most of us will never have a highly visible mission or ministry. Most of us may just need to exercise God’s love within a physically “smaller” field – within our families, our neighborhood, our circle of friends or the people God sends to us to mentor one-on-one and minister to. Most of us may be full-time homemakers for the rest of our borrowed lives and may never get the chance to be “recognized” in public. But all of us will need to carry out the same mission – the mandate to love and obey.

And as we do so, God will lead us to more opportunities to serve him in ways that will even surprise us. And he will always lead us to a mission or mission field that is best suited to the personality, talents and gifts he has generously bestowed upon us. It is always a perfect match, whether we recognize it or not. God is never wrong. We need to be patient, though, because it may take time. And God will always encourage us when we need it most.

To end, I have always asked God why he has placed me where I am and why he has given me the tasks and responsibilities I have. And many times I would feel that I am not “doing enough” for him or that what he has asked me to do is too much for me. But every time a young person is baptized at SEP and I am allowed the privilege of serving and praying for that soul and witnessing his/her salvation, I am reminded of my purpose and mission in this life. I may see the same footage/video over and over of a young person being submerged in the water, but I am always moved to tears by God’s mercy and grace upon me and every soul saved. I am overwhelmed by God’s love for each and every young person and I am humbled by the privilege God gives me to participate in HIS great work. It is HIS work after all, and HIS mission. I only need to surrender to him by loving and obeying him – and he will do the rest. He will carry out his mission through me according to his perfect will.

May our Lord and Master lead us everyday into his love, obedience and his mission for each of us,

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. kumbapi
    Apr 01, 2008 @ 01:07:32

    very encouraging

    Reply

  2. purplethoughts
    Apr 01, 2008 @ 12:23:35

    Thanks for reading! I am also encouraged by your comment because it is an affirmation of my reason for writing and publishing.

    Reply

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