Rabbi Schneider - God's Mandate of Love
1 Thessalonians 3:12, "And may the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another..." We need to be self-introspective. We need to examine ourselves to see the condition of our soul, to examine the way that we walk. And one of the things that we need to be highly cognitive of, to be aware of is are we treating people with love? Are we growing in love? This is what Paul's benediction is. That God is blessing you. He's the God of increase and His blessing over you is that you would increase in love for His people and even for all people. So we need to be pressing in to become more and more loving.
Now, when I say more and more loving, I'm not talking about you know, touchy, feely, whimsical. I'm talking about initiating acts of love and service. In other words, one of the ways that we love people is through expression, communication. We take the time to call somebody on the phone just to tell them, I was thinking about you, I love you. When somebody does a good job, we bless them. You know what you did, it really blessed me. What you said, it really encouraged me. If we see that somebody needs help with something, we step alongside them to help them, to lift them up. If we see somebody that's discouraged, we pray for them, we lay hands on them.
In other words, to abound in love, here's the key, take action. If we're going to abound in love, if we're going to increase the love, that means we're going to become more and more active in connecting with other people, not waiting for them to connect with us. That's not love. Did you ever hear the expression "if you want to have friends, be a friend to somebody"? In other words, if we're going to abound in love, that means we're going to be the ones that are reaching out initiating, and doing things for people to bless them. And it could be in a million different ways. But I want to ask you, have you become self-activated by the Ruach HaKodesh to be somebody that is in the world loving people?
If you're just sticking to yourself and your own little castle, your own four walls, that's not love. I mean, one of the biggest challenges of the young generation, they don't want to talk to anybody. They just want to text people. They don't want to be bothered with having to talk to somebody on the phone. I remember someone that I knew, they said, "Oh, no, I know that person's going to call me". It wasn't that they hated the person. They just didn't want anyone to call them. They didn't want to have to take the time to connect with somebody on more of an intimate basis as opposed to just texting or so many things are falsehoods and people are misunderstood and they create fake faces. No. Loving is communicating.
When the Spirit of God fell on those first believers in Acts 2, he fell on them, listen now, beloved ones, as a tongue of fire. Why did the Holy Spirit come to the church as a tongue? A tongue is a speaking oracle. A tongue speaks. Loving people involves speaking into their lives. So I want to encourage us to understand that the blessing over our lives, the blessing that God is pronouncing on us is that we would increase in abounding love for one another and for all people. And this means that we have to be people of initiation. We have to be initiative people. We have to be active people. We have to be an action to love people. We can't just build a fortress around our lives, going to work, or many people even working from home, in a little wall around themselves, not doing anything to love anybody, just taking care of themselves.
But beloved, this is not the life of the Lord Jesus who came into the world to seek and save the lost. It's not the heart of the Father who so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. I want to encourage you and I today to be more initiative in loving people, going out of our way, even if it's uncomfortable, to bless people, to smile at them, to say hello. In a world that is now you sit on an airplane, and you say hello to the person next to you, they look at you like they're mad... Like, How could you invade my space and say hello to me on the airplane? Leave me alone. It's crazy. It's a crazy world, but we are lights in the darkness. We are lights shining in the earth. We cannot let the devil stop us. We cannot let hate stop us. Even if we're being misunderstood, beloved, let's love. And as my wife, Cynthia, always says, and let's love well.