This is the most important quality you will need. When your church people know that you love them, they will be willing to overlook many of your shortcomings. In the same way, if you love people, you can accept their faults and failures.
Love is like correction fluid. It covers up flaws (First Peter 4:8). It is like cement. It fills in the cracks in a relationship (Proverbs 10:12). We are reminded in First Corinthians 13 that if we don’t have love, none of the things we do for the Lord will matter. We must have love—for God, and for others.
Show your love in positive ways.
* By touching. Touch is a very important part of loving. Many times a touch will say more than words. A pat on the back or a quick hug works wonders in a person’s life (these need to be limited to children, young ladies, and women.)
* By smiling and looking directly at people. Listen and given full attention to those who are speaking to you. Watch about appearing distracted or uninterested. Be careful to look at them, not all over the room, while they are speaking.
* By saying something encouraging. whether by a note or in person. Reach out to people. Ask God to help you forget your own shyness in order to meet another’s need. People generally want to talk, but they may be afraid to speak first. Take the initiative. Get them started, then LISTEN.
* By being friendly. This might means standing at the church door at the close of the service. Greet people at they leave and shake hands with as many as you can. It might mean getting to the service a few minutes early so you can go around and greet people before the service starts. Many times this simple act opens the door so that you can talk to people about their burdens and needs.
* By giving small tokens of your love. Remember that ‘gifts of love’ are those that are given for no particular reason. A jar of jam, a basket of fruit, a plate of cookies, copies of a favorite poem, a fresh bouquet of flowers—all of these say, “I care about you.” Love is not diminished in giving. Instead, the more you love, the more your capacity for love will increase.
It is important that you cultivate a love for every age group and for every type of person. Although you may have a natural attachment for little ones or older people, keep in balance by finding people of all ages to love. Notice something special about each one and compliment them.
Set out to love those who are not immediately lovable. Prickly people, or sandpaper people are not easily loved. But these are often the ones that God puts into your life to keep you humble. Make it a project to cultivate these people. Find out their needs and the area where their heart is tender. Often the person who seems most rebellious or disinterested is really the one most hungry for love.
When we look at the list of the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians chapter five, I think it is interesting that God listed love as the first fruit. As we display love in our lives, it makes us most like God. How are you going to show the world the love of God this week? How are you going to show your church family your love for them?
Beverly is a wife, mother, and grandmother. She and Doug Hammett have been married for over 35 years. Since her father was a pastor and her husband was already a pastor when she married him, she is well acquainted with the blessings as well as the problems of the ministry! Bev’s favorite things to do are read and spend time with her family.
In Autumn of 2010, Doug stepped aside from his position as senior pastor at LVBC to reach and train men in Botswana and South Africa. Beverly continues to write for our ladies publication, giving her unique perspective of life in the ministry, and now life on the mission field. You can read more about their ministry here.