through His Word
Love is Christ’s Driving Force
In 2010, my family and I attended the International Christian Retail Show, where Christian book publishers and producers of music and gift items, promote their new products to retailers. As writers, we wanted to see how the book promotion process worked.
Giant posters decorated the halls of the convention center like murals. One of them promoted The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Aslan the lion with his golden mane and piercing eyes dominated the center of the poster. His face was striking against a vibrant blue background. It was several times larger than the other characters’ faces, which appeared in two groups, one on either side of the lion.
A wooden wheel for navigating a ship was positioned in front of the poster—a photo opportunity for passers-by. Katy took the wheel like she knew what she was doing, and we snapped her picture. It was a “keeper.” Positioned beneath the compelling gaze of Aslan, she receded into the background with the cast of characters, a present-day addition. ...
Several weeks later, the photograph took on new meaning for me. It became a visual reminder of how we can serve God with excellence. In some verses of Scripture and in Narnia, a lion represents Jesus. In the photo, the lion’s face appears above and behind the person navigating the ship, dwarfing the navigator. Two principles came to mind concerning the quality of our service to God:
· With Jesus as our driving force, our course will be directed into the paths of eternal excellence.
· Without Jesus as our driving force, we will navigate our lives short of what excellence looks like from an eternal perspective.
Our perspective of excellence may be quite different from God’s. Ours may fall short of His. God sees the big picture—how one “domino” affects another, and another. He sees the far-reaching effects of one act of kindness, one word of encouragement, and one expression of love. But He also knows when the opportunities to do good are lost, thrown away, or ignored.
God has given us not a pilot but a Shepherd to help steer our lives and service into the paths of eternal excellence. His Servant Jesus is well acquainted with them. He knows their joys and sorrows, and He has always counted the good of them as worth the cost. With love and compassion, He taught the people and healed their diseases. With courage and faithfulness, He faced the cross and conquered death. With understanding and forbearance, He has been working with believers (Mark 16:20, John 5:17) to make a difference in the world that lasts through eternity—excellence from an eternal perspective.
God’s Servant is teaching us how to be servants. He’s showing us the good of taking one step, making one friend, and reaching one heart. He’s steering us toward the opportunities that lie in the path of our relationships, affiliations, and sphere of influence. He’s working in our hearts and minds to contribute good to others and to readily receive good from them, and He’s working in their hearts and minds in the same ways.
Love is Christ’s driving force. It is God’s “bottom line,” His ultimate motivation (John 3:16; 1 John 4:8, 16). Jesus set aside His glory as God’s Son to take on the form of a man who could die on the cross. Love compelled Him to do it, and now His great love compels us to love others (2 Cor 5:14) and to serve them (Gal 5:13). If our lives are going to possess eternal excellence, then we must navigate them under God’s leadership along the paths of love. Love must become a God-established reality within us that expresses itself in good to other people.
God’s will for us is to love Him and people. God is building an eternal family, an eternal kingdom of citizens who love Him and each other. He is building an eternal us. I’m “on board” with that. I want to invest my life in serving His great goal, and so do millions of other people. May we work under God’s leadership and according to His direction to progress His goal of building up an eternal us, and may Jesus and His love be our driving force.
From Isaiah: Setting Things Right, pp.163-164
Copyright © 2013 by Beebe Kauffman