(These were my notes for yesterday’s short talk for Habitat for Humanity’s Building On Faith event. For those of you who don’t know, I serve on the national board of trustees. Building decent, safe, and affordable places to live is and will always be an advocacy of mine. I have seen the importance of environment on a person’s life, and I’ve seen the importance of the church in shaping that environment. Building On Faith is an important partnership Habitat has with faith-based groups to bring a spiritual dimension to our community building.)
Love That Acts
Good morning everyone.
Thank you for joining us here at Bistekville, Quezon City, for day 2 of Habitat for Humanity’s Building on Faith.
Our inspiration to help others, especially those who need homes, is God’s love for all people.
Habitat for Humanity’s actions of building homes, building communities, building even school structures and community centers, are all part of the single motivation of showing God’s love.
A very famous verse that encapsulates this love is John 3:16.
For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.
I want to draw your attention to the word “THAT“. For God so loved the world THAT…
The word THAT in the verse connects God’s motivation with His response, His action. What was His motivation? He loved, and not just loved but so loved. What was His response? He gave, and He not only gave, He gave what was most precious to Him.
John 15:13, another famous verse about love, reads:
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
Again we see the word THAT connecting this idea, this motivation of great love, and the response, the action this great love compels.
The Bible over and over reminds us that the question of faith is not so much “What church do I attend?” or “What tradition do I follow?” but more “Who do I love?” and “How do I live out that love?”
Today, as we celebrate Building on Faith, I have two questions and an encouragement:
First the two questions to ask ourselves:
1. Who do I love?
Sino ang aking minamahal?
2. What do I do for those I claim to love?
Ano ang mga aksyon na ginagawa ko para sa aking minamahal?
Let us, like the Bible reminds us, connect our motivation with our actions. Let’s not limit “God’s love” to our comfort zones, to simple quotes and tweets, to empty promises and cheap words. Let us take this amazing, beautiful, compelling idea called love and unleash its power in our lives and the lives of the people we claim to love through our actions.
Now for the encouragement, the reason why we can live out this love and give love to others, is because someone loves us. Someone loves you more than you can ever love anyone else.
That someone is God Himself, Creator of Heaven and Earth. We love because He first loved us, or as 1 John 4:19 says:
We love each other because he loved us first.
This is going to be a little embarrassing to tell, but it will help drive the point home.
I remember, I loved this girl once, and I’m sure you all have your own similar stories, and it didn’t make any sense. I wasn’t ready for a relationship. Neither was she. I couldn’t afford it. I couldn’t afford myself. I had no 5-year plan, no 3-year plan. I had no plan. I just knew that inside me, there was this feeling, a feeling I couldn’t really describe, that made me wish I could see her, or talk to her, to do things for her, to be beside her, to give her everything of the little I had.
If I, in my human selfishness, can feel so much affection for a girl, how much more can God love you? He wishes to be with you and to walk with you in relationship. He wishes to see you, to talk to you, to do things for you, to be beside you. He wishes to give you everything, yet unlike me, He doesn’t have little. He actually owns everything.
Today, remember God’s love, remind yourself of who you love, and let love compel you to action.
Thank you very much.