Family Life, February 2017

Love Don’t Cost a Thing

Love Don’t Cost a Thing
by Tonya Woodridge-Jarvis

Growing up, I would constantly hear people say, “Love don’t cost a thing.” It wasn’t until I became older that I realized exactly what was being said.

The word love appears 310 times in the King James Bible, 348 times in the New American Standard Bible, 551 times in the New International Version and 538 times in the New Revised Standard Version. The word love can be broken down into four categories according to the Greek: Eros, storge, philos, and agape. Eros is romantic love, storge is a natural love, and philos is a friendship or non-romantic love. Agape, or Christian love, is the highest, purest, most unconditional and noblest form of love that is commonly used in the Old Testament.

Through previous readings and teachings, we know that we the people are the church. Husbands are told to love their wives as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25-32). In John 21:15-16, Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him with the agape type of love, and Peter responded that he had the normal human philos type of love for Him. But after receiving the Holy Spirit, Peter was able to genuinely demonstrate the godly love, and went on serving others throughout his lifetime.

One morning on your way to work while running behind schedule with no time to stop for breakfast, you encounter a man at the end of your exit on the interstate. He’s disheveled, has on torn clothes and no shoes. In the blink of an eye, what do you do? Do you roll down your window and give the disheveled man a few dollars and pull off? Or do you take the time to speak with the disheveled man? Most of us wouldn’t take the time to roll the window down to give a few dollars, let alone take the time to speak to him. So you do neither, and you pull off quickly because of your tardiness to work.

Later that evening, you hear WAFB’s news report while preparing for bed, stating that some unsuspecting woman was given the chance of a lifetime because she took the time to ask a disheveled man if he needed help. See, the disheveled man at the end of your interstate exit was really a multi-billionaire with cancer on assignment to find a genuine person to take over his company before he gets too sick. And his only request was to find someone who genuinely cared about people, as that is the nature of his business.

The business was handed over to woman who wasn’t too busy, who might have been late but stopped, who wasn’t in rush. A woman who showed genuine love and compassion for all of God’s people no matter their outer appearance, or what state of mind they might be in. By serving others we express the genuine agape love that God designed us for.

We are in an everyday struggle to be more Christ-like, but some of us aren’t even trying. To be Christ-like is to show genuine love to everyone, even if they’ve wronged you. Learning to forgive is just a part of the cycle. So I want to petition the hearts of the readers to show love and kindness to everyone. Just take one moment to think about how you would feel if you were down on your blessing and needed just a simple listening ear, but not one soul was there. Most of you would say, “I’ll just talk to God.” But if He sent you an angel in the form of a disheveled man, many of you would miss it because you’re too high and mighty to recognize His hand at work. But no one is higher than the Almighty. Here’s the key ingredient: “Faith without works is dead.” It takes faith and a relationship with God to see the blessing in everything.

So with all of these love groups, you are sure to fall into one or another in your lifetime. But the one we should all strive for is showing agape love to all of God’s people. Agape love doesn’t cost a thing.