Friday, July 31, 2009

Do We Love Him?

"Do you l-o-o-v-e me?"

"Do I what?"

"Do you l-o-o-v-e me?"

"Do I love you?
With our daughters getting married
And this trouble in the town
You're upset, you're worn out
Go inside, Go lie down!
Maybe its indigestion."

"Goldie, I'm asking you a question....
Do you love me?"

"You're a fool."

"I know....
But do you love me?"

"Do I love you?
For twenty-five years I've washed your clothes
Cooked your meals, cleaned your house
Given you children, milked the cow
After twenty-five years, why talk about love right now?".................


"I know...
But do you love me?"

"Do I love him?
For twenty-five years I've lived with him
Fought with him, starved with him
Twenty-five years my bed is his
If that's not love, what is?"

"Then you love me?"

"I suppose I do."

"And I suppose I love you, too."

So goes the conversation between Tevye and his wife, Goldie, in The Fiddler on the Roof.

This reminds me a little of the conversation between the L-rd and Peter in John 15:21-17.

Our L-rd had just dined with his disciples.....a close-knit group, especially after three years of following the L-rd together and going through the events of the crucifixion and resurrection. I'm sure it would be an understatement to say that the bonds that were forged went very deep and lasted a lifetime!

The L-rd Jesus put Peter on the spot:
"Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me more than these?"

Peter answered the L-rd, "Yea, L-rd; Thou knowest that I love Thee."

Jesus' reply to Peter: "Feed my lambs."

But, Jesus pursued this questioning further---
"He saith unto him a second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me?"

Peter's answer the second time:
"Yea L-rd; Thou knowest that I love Thee."

Jesus answers, "Feed my sheep."

The L-rd was not finished with His questioning of Peter's love for Him. Remember that Peter had earlier denied the L-rd three times. It was three times that the L-rd questioned Peter if he loved Him!

"He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me?"

"Peter was grieved because He said unto him the third time, Lovest thou Me?
And he said unto Him, L-rd Thou knowest all things;
Thou knowest that I love thee."

Should it not, would it not it grieve us, too, if the L-rd had to ask us three times if we loved Him??

Jesus did not come up with a third option for Peter.
"Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep."

During the '70s, the big word in our society (other than "peace") was LOVE, sometimes written, LUV.

"What the world needs now is love, sweet love. It's the only thing that there's just too little of....", as the old song goes....

Churches picked up on that mantra, and soon the age of "easy-believism" burgeoned forth! Fewer pastors preached on sin, leaving behind the Ten Commandments (no wonder they were driven out of the schools!), giving way to sermons on social change and "loving" your neighbor. Holding hands, swaying to "Kumbaya", lots of hugs and shallow relationships.....this was the stuff of the 70's.

If anyone made doctrine an issue, they didn't have "love". Doctrine wasn't important....truth was cast aside in the name of "love". "Everybody get together. Try and love one another right now." That was the ultimate goal of the church in those days.

The focus was man-centered. Loving your fellow man, of course, would lead to pleasing your fellow man and all that implies. Somehow, though, the L-rd was relegated to second place in all that euphoric celebrating of "love".

What Jesus specifically told His disciples was explicitly ignored!

If you will recall, He reiterated to them the teaching of the First Commandment:

"The first of all the commandments is,
Hear O Israel; the L-rd our G-d is one L-rd:

And thou shalt love the L-rd thy G-d with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.

And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

There is none other commandment greater than these."..............Matthew 12:29-31

How are we to really love others if we do not love the L-rd FIRST?! Sadly, I think our priorities get reversed. We love ourselves first, our families, our friends, and the L-rd is worked in there somewhere.

Do we l-o-o-v-e Him?

To be continued.......

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