There have been very few times in my life where I’ve felt like I truly powerful. An exception was when I was in college and interned for a Senator. The Senator hosted a huge event, and by some strange fluke I was placed in charge of allowing or denying access to the VIP area. I don’t want to bring politics into this post, so just suffice it to say that you’ve likely heard of all the politicians and celebrities who were in that area. At the entrance to the VIP area was me, a clipboard, and two secret service agents. If I said someone could enter then the secret service opened the door and ushered them in. If I said no then they got a really stereotypical secret service glare. I’ll be transparent: it was one of the most amazing nights of my life! Some of the most important people in my state had to get MY permission to enter that room.
Here’s the reality. All of us have more power and control in life then we realize. We have the ability to improve the lives of others by loving them in tangible ways.
For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love on another… By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s good and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. 1 John 3:11, 16-18
I think we run into two big challenges in living this out. First, we simply don’t realize that God has called and empowered us to make others better. It’s not just a subtle suggestion, but a central command. Jesus showed love not only in telling us that He loved us, but in acting for us. We’re called to do the same. When we look at others in our lives we should be asking ourselves the following question: how can I make them better today? What actions can I be doing to show them love and to improve their lives?
Here’s the second challenge. Sometimes we can enjoy “holding the clipboard” a little too much. We look at others and feel that they need to earn the right for us to show them love. A prime example is serving the poor. We’re hesitant to help because we can come up with all sorts of reasons not too (it just enables them, they need to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, etc.). Yet, think of all the reasons Jesus had to NOT love us by dying on the cross. Are we so much better that we don’t have to show love to certain people?
Realize it or not, God has entrusted you with great power. He’s entrusted you with the power to actively love others. How will you put that power to use?