Love … is not self-seeking.
—1 Corinthians 13:4-5
A pastor described a young couple that had recently been attending his church. As new attendees, they were delighted. They found the church warm and hospitable. They were welcomed with open arms. Long-time members gave them attention and were interested in their opinions. But many months later, after they became members of the church, this couple started to complain. They felt that people were no longer spending enough time with them. The church leaders, they decided, were only concerned with new visitors. No one focused on them anymore.
When a church leader heard about this, he visited with them and said, “When you first came here, you needed love and acceptance. Now you need to help the church give other people that love and acceptance.” The couple needed to make spiritual progress. They needed to learn that love is not self-seeking.
Each of us is tempted to set up our own ego as an idol for others to dance around. Unconsciously we put ourselves on stage and ask others to applaud. We praise so that we will get praise in return. We love to get love in return. We serve to be served in return. And we believe our deep needs excuse our behavior.
Love enables us to see beyond ourselves. It takes the attention off us and seeks the good of our neighbors.
Lord, rescue us. We are desperate, stuffed with our-selves. Unstuff us by your grace, and fill us with Jesus’ love. Amen.
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