Everyone in ministry knows that we often have ulterior motives to loving. Ultimately, we want to help people get right with God. When I was working in Spring Green, if a student called me looking to get a ride home, I would often do so in the hopes that my service would help him to see Jesus better. I worked in the schools not so much because I love teaching but because I wanted opportunities to speak to students I wouldn’t normally get to speak with. If I planned a big party, it wasn’t because I love parties (I’m an introvert by all accounts) but because I wanted opportunities to identify with students and speak to them about Jesus. Even airsofting, as much as I loved it, was always the means to an end: an opportunity to witness and to be an example so that a student would one day repent and live for Jesus.
We often have ulterior motives. In the ministry, our ulterior motives are good. (Seriously, what better goal can there be that someone would come to know Jesus?)
But we’re called to love simply to love.
This topic came up a few days ago after Jason and I met with a very poor Rroma community here in Bucureşti. Although we loved the encounter and left encouraged, the question came up, “What do we do if we pour out our time, our money, our very selves and they do not respond to God? What then?” The answer, we agreed, was to simply keep on loving just as God has done.
I was reminded of this when I read this morning about the plague of frogs (Exodus 8:1-15) that God sent to Egypt. In the midst of the plague, Pharaoh begs with Moses, “Please, I give up! Ask Yahweh to take the plague from us! We can’t take it anymore. I’ll let you go. Just ask Him to remove the frogs.” Of course, he had no intention of letting his slaves go free; he just wanted the frogs gone. God knew this. Moses probably even knew it. Pharaoh certainly knew it. And yet, Moses goes and asks Yahweh for mercy. And He responds with mercy, knowing full well that Pharaoh is lying and his mercy will go unheeded.
Lord, keep my heart loving always, whether I see fruit or not, whether that fruit remains or not.