20 October 2023 Anno Domini, the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.” (Ecclesiastes 9:10; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
In the same sense of this counsel of Solomon, each must be all he or she can be in all things righteous. In marriage, we must strive to be the best spouse we can be, the best soldier, the best mother or father, the best teacher or nurse, the best doctor of architect, etc. It is entirely in the will of God that we are the best at whatever we put our hand, or heart, to do. God is perfect in righteousness and we are not; however, we should emulate the example of the perfect Plumbline that illustrates His perfection even though we fall miserably short. By loving our wives or husbands, we cannot fail to do good to them. It is the same in all else.
The difference between an amateur sportsman and a professional is simply one quality – and that is love. You see, the etymology of the word ‘amateur’ means one who loves. “ . . . from French amateur “one who loves, lover” (16c., restored from Old French ameour), from Latin amatorem(nominative amator) “lover, friend,” agent noun from amatus, past participle of amare “to love“. An amateur plays for the love of a game – the professional for money. It is love that drives the amateur to do his best. It is love of God that compels us to do our very best in every righteous effort undertaken.
We see the principle that compels us to be perfect in love throughout Holy Scripture. In fact God hangs all our ability to be obedient upon LOVE. It is that one characteristic that can actually make us perfect in all that we do even if our actions fail of perfection. “And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” (Deuteronomy 6:5)
Consider these verses:
“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” (Matthew 22:37)
“And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.” (Mark 12:30)
Referring to the Old Testament Law, the lawyer responded to Christ: “He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? 27And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.” (Luke 10:26-27)
“And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord,” Colossians 3:23
Have you observed how often God repeats His counsel over and over again in Scripture? It is for the sake of emphasis. The first law of learning is this: “Repetition aids retention.” Those oft repeated principles that God provides are so important that He repeats them often for our sake. We do not tell our children once-and-for-all-time that we love them. We tell them every day to reinforce that compelling devotion to them.
We are all ‘amateurs’ at loving our family, friends, and neighbors. We do not love for the sake of gaining, but for the privilege of giving. Amazingly, the more the fountain of love flows so abundantly, the more the resource of love is replenished to continue that flow.
God is love, and we are His amateurs to share that love. Of the four Gospels, one stands out conspicuously for its stress on the requirement to Love – the Gospel of St John. John was the youthful disciple whom for whom the Lord Jesus Christ bore special love and affection – perhaps for his tender years and ability to respond to the love of God. He is considered by theologians as the Apostle of Love though he never boasts of it himself.
Should we not all be disciples of love to share the abundance of love with which we have been blessed by God. If we say we love God and hate our neighbors, we are liars: “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?” (1 John 4:20)
Do you love God and also your neighbor?