“And now these three remain: faith hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
– 1 Corinthians 13:13
Group night is here, each person has arrived, and the evening is now set. A commencement time of fellowship, prayer, and worship has concluded, and now all attention has been given to you. You connect your eyes with each person in the room, and take a deep breath. As you exhale, your mind searches for the right words to begin the nights discussion and teaching. As those words alighten your tongue, you proceed in influencing those who have entrusted themselves to you.
You’re the leader. They know you as such, and you have accepted this role. The question is, why? When you guide these discussions, and share what is on your heart, where does the motivation to do so come from? Are you motivated by a deep revelation you received? Are you motivated by a level of knowledge you have attained that you want to share with others? Do you sense you have a spiritual gifting that needs an outlet? Could it be that you are motivated by the sheer desire to be out front? Or, could it be, you are motivated by the simple fact that you love those God loves, and are thus, willing to be available to them as He desires?
In life, in leadership, and specifically in the shepherding of people, what is the most excellent way? According to scripture, it is love. Plain ole patient, kind, content, humble, selfless, forgiving, righteous, truthful, protective, trusting, hopeful, and perseverant love.
“And now I will show you the most excellent way. If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.” – 1 Corinthians 13:1-3
This week, and on into the rest of the trimester, I want to encourage you, as you take that last second deep preparatory breath, look intently into the eyes of your group members, and recognize the image of the One they bear (2 Cor. 3:18). Consider the love He has for them, and then lead them as one who is so loved.
For it is in the excellency of love, and in it alone, that we can all go deeper, and grow stronger.