“We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. We remember before our God and Father your worked produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.”
-1 Thessalonians 1:2-3
Can I just start by being really honest? Some people are hard to love. It doesn’t even seem to matter what they say or do, it’s just not easy to love them. Especially when you have those who are so easy to love. That fascinates me because it’s not always clear as to why this is the case. But you all know what I’m talking about. We can each think of someone instantly who’s hard to love. Paul, Silas and Timothy are writing the Thessalonians and they give thanks in particular for their “labor prompted by love.”
Biblical love is others-oriented and seeks another’s highest good no matter who or what. That’s counter-cultural to the type of love we often labor in. We labor in a love that benefits ourselves. We labor in a love that’s often based on comparison so we look for another’s errors and weaknesses. As Christians, we are called to love differently from our culture and the world. We are called to “labor in our love.” We are to love sacrificially until it hurts. We are to love to the point of exhaustion. We are to love others in the same way God loves us. I have come to realize that often times, to God, I’m that person who’s hard to love. Yet God loves me because “God is love” and there is nothing I can do to change that.
Praise God for His unconditional and unfailing love. Ask God for forgiveness when we try to make others earn our love. And be reminded that the only way we can “labor in love” is to make God the source of our love.