No Check-List Love

After visiting a dear bedridden friend, the ailing friend said, “I thank you so much for coming by to see me. Your visit has meant so much to me. I know I’m not getting around much anymore. It’s nice to be remembered.” He paused and said, “Thanks for keeping me on your list!”

His friend smiled and moved closer to his friend’s bed. “You are not on my list,” he responded. “You are in my heart!”

We can find ourselves responding to others, motivated by a sense of oughtness. “Gee, I ought to visit Bill.” “I ought to help someone in need.” We feel a sense of obligation and this is what motivates us to respond. I suppose that this isn’t all that bad. But Jesus has for us another, purer way.

Jesus was one who was always motivated not by a sense of oughtness, but a feeling of the heart. It was not checking someone off some list of things to do, but caring and responding because of concern. It wasn’t checks of accomplishment he was marking off, but feelings of concern he was only able to satisfy by responding to others.

The word for this is LOVE. This love demonstrated in Jesus’ response to others was an ancient, seldom-used word, which was a new kind of love he brought not only into the world but also into human relations. It was such a radically different form of love that an old obscure word had to be resurrected – the word, Agape! Many have tried to define it but all have fallen short. Many have tried to explain it, but it is something that is understood only through doing it.

It isn’t a check-list love, but one of the heart. Jesus says it best, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” And, oh how he loves you and me!

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