You know those love languages made famous by Gary Chapman? (My love language is “acts of service.” Please vacuum my floors.)
Just as I appreciate acts of service and you might appreciate acts of public affection or gifts, the way we express our love to God varies as well. While one person might express her devotion by dressing in her finest clothing and worshiping every Sunday morning, another person might express his devotion by participating in a Moral Monday march. Both are expressions of love for something bigger than ourselves.
How do you show your love to God?
- You write checks to financially support your church?
- You donate money to support other non-profit organizations?
- You wear your best for Sunday worship?
- You make time for worship on your way to a sports event (and dressing accordingly)?
- You march to protest injustice?
- You risk arrest for civil disobedience to protest injustice?
- You spend quiet time in prayer and Bible study?
- You do hands-on ministry (e.g. painting, refurbishing, tutoring, cooking, serving, cleaning, teaching, singing, visiting, installing, weeding, driving, baking) for people who appreciate such things.
- You study the Bible?
- You write notes to or visit the sick/lonely/grieving.?
Again, we tend to judge each other. I’ve said myself that if the full extent of your spiritual practice is wearing a coat and tie on Sunday mornings, your commitment is lame. I also know people who Twitter for Jesus – spreading what they consider to be teaching moments via social media – and that’s fairly lame for other folks.
My point is this: churches must offer a variety of ways for people to show their devotion to God while also helping people ratchet up that commitment. Maybe today you express your commitment to serve God by writing a monthly check. But – as you read and study and pray – you are being moved to raise the stakes a bit and pick up a hammer or a paint brush. Or maybe you’ve marched in numerous protests and you feel a tug to do more: teach or mentor or register voters.
What is your Theological Love Language – in terms of how you love God? I hope it goes beyond wearing a Jesus t-shirt. (I’m pretty judge-y myself.) But that’s a start for some people.